Wednesday, December 5, 2007
An Introduction to Digby
Having always had animals around me, I was so bereft of their companionship those first few months we were in England, that I had taken to "dognapping" my lovely neighbor dog, Cinda. She was a buff coloured Cocker Spaniel with the most soulful eyes. She loved to go "walkies" and Bubbles (Violet Loxley, the West End Actress), my dear neighbor ("Mum" to Cinda) and I went on walking excursions twice a day. The school bus would pick the boys up at 0:dark30 and after a cup of coffee, off we'd go to Burnham Wood, or Watership Down, or the rugby field. Sometimes in the middle of the day, before the prescribed evening walk, I would go next door and take Cinda on a stroll into the village. She was such a sweet girl, but she only made my "dogless" state more apparent. On January 7th (my birthday), Mac came home early and told me we had an appointment in Gerrard's Cross. He wouldn't tell me with whom or what it was all about, he made me wait. We drove into Gerrard's Cross and out to this huge farm house. I could hear the barking as I exited the car and a beautiful Old English Sheepdog ran out to greet us. She was quite well behaved, offered her paw (I wonder how long it took them to teach her to do that) and then led us up to the door. We were met by the Kennel Master who took us into the large barn where there were 7 puppies in a bed of straw, all romping and rolling over one another. There is nothing sweeter in this world to me than a rambunctious mob of dancing eyed puppies, all fighting to be first at the gate to show off. And show off these young rapscallions did. It took us over an hour to pick out the two puppies we had decided to take. I say "take", but they weren't free. In actuality, the puppy that would be mine had chosen me from the very beginning. As I sat in the straw, she climbed into my lap and fell asleep. The others were all busy pushing and shoving each other and this sweet little one slept on. When I went to stand up, it was just a natural thing to walk out to the car holding her close. I have loved the Old English since the movie "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" with Doris Day and David Niven (highly under rated British actor in my opinion) starring. So Digby was really a dream come true. Her sister, who was dubbed Tanque since she was so much bigger than Digby, was just as lovely but twice as rambunctious. After about two months, seeing that I was overwhelmed, Bubbles spoke to a friend who was in the market for a puppy for their children. So we were left with the one puppy who had stolen my heart from the very beginning. I watched every Barbara Woodhouse show that came on and learned how to easily house break the girl. It was so easy I always told everyone she housebroke herself. Now when Bubbles took Cinda, I had my own lead to handle. She learned so quickly to stop at curbs and believe it or not, look both ways...when I gave the command "over" for crossing the street, off she loped, hind quarters rolling like a great bear. The British are extremely "dog friendly" (actually about any animal) and often shout out as they are driving by to compliment your walking companion. "Lovely Sheepdog" was what I mostly heard. But one day as we strolled along in a nice foursome, Bubbles, Cinda me and Digby, a car slowed and a woman leaned out the window of the car and called out "is it a bitch?" I turned to look behind me, I knew this rude person was certainly not talking to me. Bubbles, seeing the anger building in my face quickly intervened. "She wants to know if Digby is a girl...you know, a bitch..." Smiling icily I called back to the woman, " no, she's quite ladylike"which brought Bubbles to a state of near hysteria laughing. A bitch indeed.