On 19th August 2013 (that evening was a full moon, an omen perhaps)? I drove along to the local animal rescue centre, where six months previous I picked up Hannah, the Staffordshire bull terrier puppy. The reason for my journey was to take in some old towels and fleece blankets that such a centre can never have too many of. As I arrived at my destination so did a lady, who, as a volunteer, fosters the weak and ill canines on behalf of the centre. At the reception desk I placed the pieces I’d brought within their ‘thank-you’ bin, only to turn and see a bundle being held by the foster carer. Staring out from within the bundle shone two beautiful tiny dark brown-eyes; they blinked with fear.
The unfamiliar smell, as well as the unaccustomed noise was obviously too much for what ever belonged to those small sparkling eyes. To cut a long story short; the ‘puppy’ was 12 weeks old, though its stunted growth made it appear to be only 6 weeks, it really was the runt of its litter. Its siblings had been sold on, the ‘owner’ had no success with the tiny runt, so it was passed on to the rescue centre, where the foster carer took over and nurtured it for five weeks at her own home. God knows how small it was back then.
As I was inquisitive I asked to hold and view the puppy within the bundle. The foster lady passed it forward and the small blanket fell away, it looked up at me and trembled in my hands. I looked across at the receptionist and said “I’ll take him home today-now, could I have the paper work please”.
The foster carer jumped in defensively, saying I would have to be vetted etc, etc, which was gently re-buffed by the receptionist to soften the blow “Oh that’s fine, this gentleman is already registered with us, and he has recently rescued a puppy”. After a brief detailed discussion with the carer the paper work was completed, and we all said our goodbyes. I left with the brown-eyed tiny bundle of bones that weighed less than eight pounds; thinking to myself, ‘Oh well, when you have two, you may as well as have three’. Besides, I had a good idea what the little feller was crossed with, his Staffie coat and ‘gull wing’ shaped eyes cast him as part canine gladiator, time will reveal (has since revealed) his other cross parent in full. Four weeks later; after a complete change away from his original diet combined with plenty of rough and tumble exercise, the bones have now been covered in healthy muscle and a layer of fat.
After our short journey home, we were met at the door by Joss & Hannah where upon much tail wagging and yapping ensued, each equally curious as to what I held under my arm. I led them both into the field and placed the small bag of bones down on the ground, allowing them to ‘speak’ to each other on neutral territory. After much sniffing and licking as well as a short walk, we returned to the kitchen to make a pot of tea. Kicking off my boots I settled down on the dog couch; a name was required for the ‘new pup’, with my head in the clouds I pondered upon traditional Staffordshire Bull Terrier names.
‘Keeper’~‘Bruiser’~‘Gripper’~‘Watchman’~‘Boots’~’Buckshot’~‘arrgghhhh’! My head dropped back to earth, brought about by several sharp stabbing pains emanating from my big toe. The pup had sunk its needle teeth through my sock into my big piggy. I whipped my sock off to see tiny pin prickles of blood, the pup had just christened himself through his act, ‘Nipper’! A name that suits his stature, as he will always be a little nipper in comparison to a pure bred Staffie. Nipper was named well, and by gum he has lived up to it since. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in guts & determination, the runt has since turned into a Grunt; showing the true traits of his other cross parent, a Jack Russell terrier.
His teacher in the playful art of ‘jaw fighting‘ has been Hannah; non stop until they both drop exhausted, which they then sleep off over a couple of hours. He has also settled in to the patrol routine without any problem what so ever, following Hannah silently out in front like a shadow, step for step. It was all meant to be…
Several days ago the combined harvesters started their cropping work around the fields surrounding my own. The rat’s were being forced out field by field, just like every year previous; only this time our ‘four man’ team was ready and waiting for them. ‘None shall pass’ was the war cry, and the Grunt was ready, ‘aye-ready’ as we waited patiently for the first wave to cross our path.To Be Continued… Yours Aye.