Kite....Lancashire Heeler ....and more!
an update on rescue success for the Lancashire Heeler Community Welfare Fund......from Kite himself!
Hi, I’m Kite
I used to be Dando, but my new “owners”, within half an hour of meeting me, decided that wasn’t quite right and renamed me Kite (in as high as …) and seemed to think this very witty.
Anyway, I promised Sarah at the community welfare that I’d keep in touch and here I am with a brief history of events since I left her last November.
Maybe I should introduce myself, I’m first and foremost a Lancashire Heeler, but a bit of a X has given me the advantage of longer legs, speed and much agility (Caroline, who lives next door, calls me “the dog on pogo sticks”, I think she means it kindly).
It was suggested to Dad that I looked a little like a Chihuahua, he was not very happy, especially when a lady on the beach up in Northumberland professed to know my breed and came up with the same thing. Now I’ve grown up and filled out a bit I hope the resemblance has gone. I think I’m more toward the Manchester Terrier of my heritage, the champion of ratting dogs, which is why I need, really need, to chase all the rats I see. There’s white woolly rats in the fields, fat, pink, curly tailed rats, tree rats, floppy eared, bob-tailed rats, all sorts of rats - 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' won’t let me chase any of them. I also have a remarkable singing voice, a cross, I’m told, between the lament of an Orca, Kate Bush singing Wuthering Heights and the Yodelling Cowboy, and I can keep it up for hours especially in the car on a long journey – Dad loves it. My character is a bit mixed up, confident, outgoing but timid. Aggressive to strangers when I’m on a lead but loving off, unfortunately as I have a tendency to do a runner, opportunities for being off the lead are, as yet, zilch.
When I first met my new Dad, I knew he was the one for me. My tail started wagging, then my bottom, then my whole body – I knew I had him hooked (line and sinker) from the start. Unfortunately, when you adopt a human who is getting on in life you have to accept that they come with baggage – in this case it was Mum (but I just call her 'She Who Must Be Obeyed'). I knew I had to lay down the rules straight away, so when she started to stroke me I turned on my back and started growling. We knew where we stood. The second item of baggage I reserved judgement on, they had a great long-legged wippity-greyhound thing called Griffin (reputedly named after the heraldic winged beasty – but more likely, after the vulture, now that I have seen his kitchen counter surfing thieving habits). Anyway we had a good gallop together round the paddock, I snarled and snapped and he ran – it was most satisfying, but even then I had an awful suspicion that he found me amusing and not intimidating as intended.
Anyway they loaded me into the car, I escaped, had a good run round, was loaded into the car, squeezed through the bars of the dog guard and onto 'She Who Must Be Obeyed'’s knee. From there I could flutter my eyelashes at Dad, and every time he talked to me, tried to jump on his knee. 'She Who Must Be Obeyed', for some reason, didn’t find this amusing (something to do with Dad driving, I think) and we had several snarling matches, but in the end we came to an agreement – I would ignore her and she would hold me only sufficiently to support me in comfort.
My next disappointment on reaching my new home was the introduction to Jack. Jack was a Lancashire Heeler dog, who was, I had been told, too ill to travel to meet me and so, I assumed, would be a push over. We first clashed over dinner, his bowl looked fuller then mine so naturally I wanted to swap – next thing I knew I was on my back, with Jack showing an admirable number of teeth. I appealed to 'She Who Must Be Obeyed', but she said I should learn manners and that I’d escaped lightly. Knowing that he was an older and sick dog, I thought he’d just been lucky and next time I’d be ready for him – how wrong can you be. Anyway, I may be excitable, but I’m certainly not stupid, one growl from Jack and I’d scarper – an understanding was reached, we became firm friends.
I could tell you tales of many escapades, the run round the shopping centre, the jaunts from home into the countryside, the captures, the imprisonments. But all has been curtailed, Dad finally Kite proofed the orchard, raising the six foot fence by another couple of feet where walls and compost heaps gave me a step over and digging rabbit wire into the ground to stop me tunnelling out. And, after one pleasing mock battle with Griff, where we completely wrecked the seatbelts and headrests in the car, we are now consigned to a cage in the car so no more opportunities, they thought.
Dad and 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' have a trailer, like a caravan thing, and so in January took me, Jack and Griff, away to Clumber Park for a couple of weeks holiday. We had loads of walks in the woods, it was great fun. One night, 7 pm’ish, Dad forgot to tell me to stay while he went out of the trailer – I was off like a shot, between his legs and away. There were loads of floppy-eared rat holes to explore. Two in particular needed excavating. Anyway, I’d had my dinner so there was no rush to go home and I could hear Dad and The Bitch calling for me, so I knew I wasn’t lost. Then at about 10 pm Dad was stopped by the National Trust Security Man. Why was Dad prowling the woods with a lurcher, a terrier and a powerful torch, most suspicious. Dad must have looked innocent as he wasn’t arrested, and next I heard the NT man calling my name, but I didn’t call back as I know I shouldn’t talk to strangers. 11 pm came and went, I was now so deep in the hole the flop-eared rats had to be really close. Then I heard Jack bark for me. Well when Jack barks it’s wisest to answer, so I backed out and called him back. Within seconds Dad and The Bitch were there, I dived back into the hole quick but Dad caught me by the tail, and dug me out with his bare hands, and to be honest I was pretty tired by then and ready for bed. But before that I had to submit to the indignity of being brushed out by 'She Who Must Be Obeyed', she says I looked like nothing more than a fox cub, collar gone, harness gone, all covered in red earth. It took us two days to get over it all. Now Dad carries a shovel in the back of the car at all times, so the two of us should be able to dig them critters out much faster.
Then in February we lost Jack. Everyone was very sad and quiet for a while, but now was the time for me to take my place as head of the pack. I’d always had my suspicions about Griff and his lack of respect, but in deference to Jack had never felt it my place to follow this up. Well my time had come. Griff and I were given very tasty chews apiece, I ate mine and as usual Griff messed about with his. Naturally, I attempted to take it off him. I confronted him with my best set of teeth and a full sized snarl, the result was not what I expected. Griff showed more than the average number of fangs and he was as quick as a striking adder – I’m ashamed to say I actually screamed as I ran. I’ve tried again a couple of times, with similar results, but now think we must agree to differ on who is top dog.
Meanwhile the relationship with Dad blooms, but try as I might I cannot make head nor tail of 'She Who Must Be Obeyed'. One minute she tells me I’m cute but then she’s really scary, shades of Cruella da ville with her threats to make me into a handbag. She doesn’t let me attack the vacuum, the postman, other dogs, nothing at all – where’s the fun in that. But then she feeds me, plays with me, and I’m sorry to say, she can be as cuddly as Dad. But I really can’t trust her. When I first wanted a cuddle I really had to sike myself up, I would run at her snarling and throw myself into her arms with my eyes shut – this worked well and I could then relax. But then when I want feeding, I try the same trick, not so good - she makes me sit and wait before she lets me eat just because she thinks I’m a Mr Growly around food. Who can understand women? She really took it too far the other month, just because I was being nicer to her, she thought she could take liberties and pick me up when I wasn’t quite ready. Well suffice to say, I gave her a bit of a nip – did she yip! Talk about drama queen. Well she snarled at me, I snarled back, it escalated, until I thought it time to back off. Best thing would be to ignore 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' until she asked forgiveness. For two days she was invisible to me, for two weeks I wouldn’t go to her, but how long can you keep it up when she shows no signs of backing down. We’re on talking terms again and she’s says she knows that we’ll be good friends one day and that I’m just a jealous little b*gg*r. She thinks I’m all bluster, and far too nervous for my own good. But she thinks I’m improving all the time, it’s just that I was so bad to start off with (what a thing to say).
Well, I’ve got lots of stories to tell and could go on for ever, like the time I went in kennels, and I wouldn’t let them take my lead off all the time I was in there (no one but Dad and 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' is allowed near my collar). I go with Griff to lurcher racing, I enter the stadium, scream and every dog there screams back – it’s great. Then there’s Louise, from Paws for Louise, who leads our socialisation walks and training classes, she comes to our house especially to play with me and thinks I’m coming on fine.
We’ve been all over in the trailer and we are down in Woodall Spa now – the humans are trained to park near good walking. Next we’re off to Thetford Forest, and maybe call in on Sarah as Swaffham is just up the road. 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' threatens to leave me there, but she’s just joking (I think). I know I’ve still got “issues” and still push all the “boundaries” but that just means I’ve got plenty of potential. Mum says I’m still the cutest dog going and that she’s a sucker for punishment anyway.