. . . . . . one day it will be available, I promise
A few years ago, after a decade away from farming, I started training young Heading dogs to sell, & naturally, started thinking about the people I would be selling them to. Memories came flooding back.
Memories of neglected dogs - nothing but skin & bone - living in wet drafty filthy kennels - never being let off for a run (apart from work days) - or being beaten to within an inch of their lives. Some dog’s lives were the stuff of nightmares – some poor dogs never lived to see the light of another day. Sadly, I’d seen it all.
How could I train a dog, & possibly sell it to some bastard, to live a life of hell. The thing is you can’t tell. He may have a nice voice, he might sound knowledgeable, he might drive a nice car – that all means nothing if you are a dog.
I needed to educate people – fast, ASAP. How? How could I get in-front of everyone, no matter how isolated they were, in order to teach them humanity towards their loyal trusting & neglected farm dogs?
I decided to write articles for what I considered to be the best farming paper available, Country-Wide. I just had to convince the editor, Tony Leggett, to give me a monthly column.
To cut a long story short, he did – 12 issues. The response certainly surprised him; I knew people would soak them up, but the feedback – phone calls & emails – was staggering. Needless to say the 12 issues multiplied to 27. I could have gone on forever but Tony wanted to give someone else the opportunity to write a column about something as equally interesting – if that is at all possible. Needless to say when the last one was printed there was a public uproar – well I like to think so.
For all of you wondering about the book I promised to write – yes, I am working on it, but what makes it a tad difficult is … almost everyday I try something new, I’m constantly trying to make lessons easier for a dog to understand. Maybe a dog needs a slightly different approach due to the way his mind works – they are all different & what may work for many may not work for one. In my mind that is the difference between someone who trains dogs & someone who ‘breaks them in’ - with the “I’ve always done it like this, you WILL do it & if it doesn’t work there’s plenty more where you came from” attitude. So many unlucky dogs never reach their first birthday, through no fault of their own.
Anyway back to the present day. I am writing again, in Country-Wide’s new ‘glossy’, a super magazine called Young Country – so that’s fun, and also for Rural News once a month; I love writing about dogs, about as much as I like talking about them, which brings me to my latest venture. . . . . . . . .