|Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.|
Apparently 'man's best friend' was one of the first domesticated animals kept by man for hunting, working and as a pet companion. Staggering to believe there are an estimated 700 million and one billion domesticated dogs in the world today, rocketing them into the most abundant member of the order of Carnivora
During my life, to date, I have only owned two dogs - and by two, strictly speaking, Darcy is my first proper dog, as Libby was a family dog we had when I was 12 years old. But you know what kids are like, everything is theirs: my car, my house, my dog, my garden, blah, blah, blah.
Libby - she was a rescue pup of mixed breed, but in reality she looked liked a miniature Labrador. She was a very intuative dog without being trained to be, if that makes any sense? My father was born without the ability to hear or speak, and Libby would alert him to the fact someone was at the door. It was something that she developed herself with no input from any of the family.
Libby also had a very special bond with our tortoise, Terry, at that time - although for most of Terry's part of the friendship it involved Libby pushing the tortoise at a sprint up and down the garden path, whilst Terry had all bits tucked securely into her shell.
I did witness a bizarre, yet comical tug-o-war between dog and tortoise on one summer afternoon: Libby had left one of her bones on the back door mat, just outside the kitchen. Terry, on one of her usual patrols of the garden had stumbled upon this scrap. Most likely attracted by the bits of fat and dried meat, Terry began to slowly graze.
Libby, likes most dogs when hearing something interesting whilst dozing, cocked an ear and open a sleepy eye. Seeing Terry chomping away on the bone, Libby approached, and ever so gently took hold of one end of the bone, whilst Terry still had hold of some dried meat at the other end.
Libby pulled gently. Terry pulled back. Libby pulled less gently, and still Terry locked on. This went on for about 20 seconds, back-and-forth, until Libby decided enough was enough and gave one massive tug and trotted into the kitchen with the bone. Terry was left (I imagine) miffed, looked around for a little while, then, almost as if in an 'oh well' moment, turned and strolled slowly back to the main garden.
|Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly|
Once again, Darcy was a resuce pup. She was in fact the runt of the litter. We saw her in the pup pen and immediately took to her. Not only because she was the only white pup out of a litter of six, but that she was much smaller, and what really sealed it for my wife and I was watching her being pushed away from the feeding bowl by her siblings and see her stagger across the floor and into the corner of the pen. That was when 'Cherry Bakewell' (the staff were naming the dogs after cakes at the time) was destined to become a member of the Kelly clan.
Today Darcy is a bossy, somewhat spoilt, often brattish and skilled emotional manipulator. I would dearly love to say she had the courage of a lioness, but truth be told Darcy is a big coward. I have witnessed her first hand running away from something that has spooked her and not stand her ground, even when we were present.
Darcy is 100% a 'mummy's girl' - yes, she gives me the best of welcomes every day without fail, but Darcy is like my wife's shadow. She has also learned how to do this low chuffing/growl when she wants your attention to either play or feed her - this is Darcy now, not my wife.
|Darcy aged 6 - 12 months. Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly|
As a youngster, Darcy suffered a collision to her left shoulder with a goal post whilst out in the park chasing a ball session of kick-about. Typical of darcy, 100% attention was on the ball as it arched above her, oblivious to my shouts and the goal post rushing up to greet her. She also lost one of her puppy canines in that encounter. To this day if she does too much running at the end of it she begins to limp slightly, and then it's an evening - and sometimes into the next day - of sympathy paw lifting, especially around the cupboard where her treats are kept.
Darcy has had a fair share of mast cell tumours removed, and we've been resigned to the fact she will, as she progresses with age, be a 'lumpy' dog. There are visible signs of her greying hair now as the brindle patch over her right eye is fading out to match the surrounding white of her fur, and her canines are all flattened off due to her chewing fetish of every conceivable dog toy given her. She also has a special talent for being flatulent at the most inappropriate times, and has the audacity on occasion to look up from her sleep, sniff, then cast a glance to us as if to say, 'Was that you?'
She has a love/hate relationship with bicycles and motorbikes when in the car. It's not unknown for a motorcyclist to pull up behind us in the car and proceed to wave at Darcy as she woofs away at them, all hackled up.
|Gobby Darcy today. Copyright ©2015 Mark Kelly.|
We would not change one iota about Darcy, she is our girl and one-of-a-kind (as all pet owners will say about there respective pet/s). Even the time I walked into our last home, beige carpeted living-room-diner spotlessly clean, to be welcomed by a several month old Darcy dragging her butt from around the corner whilst leaving a distinctly brown skid trail behind her, we couldn't do anything but love her.