|George, just arrived at 8 weeks|
After Badger died earlier this year we were a dog short in the household. All the car-greeting and barking duties fell on Indy’s shoulders while Amy took care of keeping the sofa warm and barking from the comfort of her personal chair. It was obviously time to bring in the next generation. My husband kept an eye on Gumtree, torn between wanting another border collie and a slightly bigger dog to be a fierce protector of the family. Every now and then he’d call my attention to an ad and I’d grunt non-commitally. I wasn’t really in a hurry to bring a demanding new creature into our lives and we’d just been through sleep deprived nights with Bracken as a new kitten.
Finally he showed me a picture that softened my reluctance. A fluffy pup, offspring of a chance encounter between a border collie father and the owner’s Dogue de Bordeaux (French mastiff). The owner was vetting all potential new owners and was obviously reluctant to part with the last two puppies of the litter, but her husband insisted. Living on a farm, with kids and other animals in the family, we passed her initial criteria and the whole family including my mother, who was visiting, piled into the car and set off to the other side of the world from us, Noordhoek ( for non-Cape Town readers, it’s a lovely little beachside village over a long pass from the main Cape Town sprawl).
He was a fluffy bundle, quite calm and gentle, but already quite big at 8 weeks and was immediately picked up and cuddled by all the kids. It seemed he was ours.
|Bracken and Amy check out the new arrival|
On the way home in the car as he wriggled over laps, a long discussion about names ensued. None of the ideas quite fit. My husband suggested George and I poo-pooed it, thinking he was joking, as the latest member of the royal family had just been named George. It turned out he was serious and really liked the name, and it seems the puppy liked it too, now it doesn’t seem like he could be called anything else! And apologies to young Prince George, but our George is slightly older than him, so must take precedence!
George was like a little bear cub when we got him all fluff and roundness, but he soon started growing longer legs, even though he still thought he was a cute lap dog.
Max, my sister-in-law’s dog started off playing wildly with him and to start off with was top dog, but he lost some of his ebullience when George quickly grew bigger than him and started rolling him over instead. They’ve worked out an equilibrium now.
|Max and George at play|
|George at 13 weeks|
|"So much interesting stuff," as he wipes out the pretty dew spangled cobweb I was photographing!|
|A sandy nose from snuffling in mole heaps|
|The evening dog walk|
Bracken, our kitten has an amazingly tolerant relationship with George. The puppy play continues and I think George looks on Bracken as his personal squeaky toy, putting a casual paw over him and chewing him, with hardly a protest or a scratch from Bracken.
|My squeaky toy!|
At five months George is now a big lolloping youngster, bounding around full of energy then crashing out in between times. He’s very sweet-natured and has a resoundingly gruff bark, which is most often directed at the perplexing mysteries of life such as tortoises and dead mice. He takes a keen interest in Bracken’s duties and my husband was woken several times in the last week by galumphing noises and crashes of chairs falling over in the kitchen. Turns out Bracken was sharing his mouse with George and they were playing with it together... at 3 in the morning!
|Almost a model dog on the lead.|
The breakthrough came when we took him to the beach a couple of weeks ago. He loved it: the sand, the sea, people, bounding and chasing waves and running. Now we can’t keep him out of the car. He leaps in any time we’re going anywhere, on the off-chance it might be going to the beach again!
|This Atlantic ocean is jolly chilly on the paws|
|Got to have Table Mountain in the background as George lollops.|
|At five months George is well established as a travelling member of the family|