Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A to Z challenge, day 8, Harley De

H is for Harley De. Yes it's time for another one of my babies.

Harley was Born Christmas morning 2000, at exactly 5 am. He was the first pup in a litter of 6 and the only boy and I was privileged enough to be the only person there at his birth. It's quite a funny story really, Christmas eve his mum Tamika started to show the classic signs that she was ready to have her pups. Everywhere I went she went, she would not leave me alone and she kept sniffing around where ever I was looking for a good nesting spot. I knew what was coming and said to my mum, "She's going to have her pups tonight."
"No she isn't." my mum replied firmly. So that night I got Tamika set up in her nesting box and laid beside it comforting and reassuring her. Mum popped in a few times shook her head and left before eventually heading for bed herself. You should have seen her face in the morning when she woke to find 6 pups. I stayed home that Christmas while my family went off as planned to have Christmas at my sisters. There was no way I was leaving my little Tamika and her pups. 

Now Harley was the result of one act of stupidity (on my sisters part) and one accident. The stupidity came first when my sister decided that it would be fun to let her boyfriends Parson Jack Russell out with my Dalmatian x Border Collie Sasha, while Sash was in heat with obvious results. We kept one pup from Sasha's litter a little girl called Tamika then had Sasha done and planned for Tamika to follow when  money permitted.

Sasha, Harely Gran, with  her litter of pups.

This meant that we had to be very careful when Tamika came into season, especially as we had an intact male dog of our own, called Scampy. The house we lived in at the time had a great shed with double glazing and even a heater and so we would leave Sasha and Tamika together in the garden, where they had access to the shed if they wanted it. While keeping Scampy inside. Then rotate them around throughout the day, until bedtime when Tamika and Sasha would come in with me and Scampy would go in with my mum and this worked well, until, one rally hot day, my mum made a terrible mistake.

She was preparing to leave for work and not wanting Scampy to get hot she went around opening all the windows and locking them in place with the child safety locks. The gap left was tiny and I have to admit, even I wouldn't have believed it possible for Scampy to fit through the gap but fit he did, or perhaps squeeze is a better word, because there were deep gouges in the windowsill where he had clearly scrabbled around a fair bit trying to push his way through the gap. 

The result of that of course was Harley. Now Scampy was a dachshund x Corgi pictured below. So that makes Harley (are you ready for this) A Parson Jack Russell x Dalmatian x Border Collie x Dachshund x Corgi. All those breeds and I essentially get left with a dog that resembles a Patterdale terrier lol. I'd not heard much about the Patterdale Terrier until quite a few years after having Harley and so when I did I used to joke that Harley was so handsome, people had gone out of their way to breed a dog just like him lol. The reality of course is that Patterdale Terriers have been around quite a bit longer than Harley. 

Scampy (harley's Daddy) taken when he was a  much older and far less agile old man, bless him,
RIP weener doggie, we miss you like crazy. 

So now you have Harley's long and illustrious history. Let's me tell you a bit about his personality. 

Well first off Harley is incredibly Grumpy. Here is a list of things that make Harley Grumpy. 
  • men with long hair
  • women that look like me or his auntie Sammy, but don't sound like us. 
  • that guy there but not the guy beside him but maybe the woman that look at him briefly over there. 
  • the family playing a silly, noisy game. (seriously punishable offence and everyone must be barked at until they stop their shenanigans and fall in line)
  • Going to throw a toy for Ludo. ( seriously lift the toy and he'll growl or bark non stop till you lower it or throw it anyway. Lower it, he instantly stops, raise it again and the growling begins. As if he is saying "DON'T YOU DARE!" We have hours of fun with this. 
  • play fighting
  • someone at the door
  • the hoover
  • someone shifting and moving him slightly while he is sleeping 
  • people looking at him (this one strike at random) 
  • Being stepped on by Ludo
  • being stroked or scratched, (he'll stand there but he'll growl and grumble the whole time.) Again this is one that strikes at Random. 
  • there are probably more things I am missing but you get the idea. 
Things Harley likes: 
  • Being Grumpy
  • food
  • sleep
  • pheasants
  • Ratting
  • Cuddles (on his terms) 
  • beating Dan in a battle of wills. 
A younger, far less Grey Harley. 
Harley is a brilliant little dog, bursting with character and I really wouldn't change him for the world. Sadly he is getting on in years now and his eyesight and hearing are failing him. This; however, to Harley's mind, has given him the perfect excuse to be even grumpier. 

People often joke that Harley is the only real adult in our family as we are quite a boisterous lot at times and Harley is the only one that try's to stop all the rough housing, but I think Harley just enjoys being grumpy because the truly grumpy don't wag their tail erratically as they tell you off. 

Another problem Harley has developed is bad arthritis. This means that he can no longer run as far as he used to, especially in cold weather and that even standing sometimes can get a bit to much for his little pins resulting in a very extreme shake. Being the stubborn old fool that he is, you have to monitor him very carefully, because no matter how bad the pain, Harley would keep going if you let him. So now Harley does a combination of walking and riding, depending on how his little legs are faring and the weather. The upside of having a disabled mummy with a mobility scooter. 

In his younger years Harley was a real out doors dog. He loved swimming, would walk and run for miles and really loved going after rodents and pheasants. To watch him take down a pheasant was an experience all in itself. As Harley quickly figured out that pheasants never fly for long, the result, if a group of pheasants crossed his path they were doomed. Harley would quite literally chase them for miles until he had brought down every last one. We once watched him bring down eight in a row, in very quick succession. 

Harley has always been a very smart dog and the bond he has developed with each and every member of our family over the years is amazing. I honestly couldn't have asked for a better dog. Losing our Rottie Hooch this year, who was the same age as Harley, has left me worried now just how many more years we will get from my beautiful boy. Especially with his eyesight and hearing deteriorating. I cannot imagine life with out De no and so we cherish everyday we get with him and hope like his father Scampy, he manages to live well into his twenties. 

There are so many stories I could tell you about Harley but I don't want to bore you all to death with all his antics over the years, so instead I will put up the long list of vids, for the breeds that make up my baby. Enjoy: 

Parson Jack Russell


Border Collie