Dogless in the Dales

After nearly 14 years of acting as butlers to our two dogs, and now having had to say goodbye to Albert, we find ourselves dogless.

It is very hard to break the routine and the discipline involved in looking after them for so long. We were already on reduced duties having lost Victoria at the very start of January 2020. Not having either of them about is deeply unsettling and the house appears bare without them.

Albert (8/1/2008 to 2/12/2021) came to us on the 2nd March 2008 as a pup straight from the breeder. He had been promised to someone in Glasgow but they gave back-word at the last moment and so we were offered, what turned out to be Albert.

Photo of wire fox terrier pup on the day he was collected from the farm he was bred on.
Albert at 8 weeks on the day of collection.

It was in late February 08 we had unexpectedly been given the opportunity to jump up the waiting list to have a pup, with just 4 days notice. We did not have any of the necessary equipment nor had we given any thought to a name. So we decided to name him after my dad who it turned out had died the week after Albert was born. He also appeared to share some of the characteristics of my father!

On Albert’s trip back to the breeder to get his first hand-strip, the breeder introduced us to a lively bundle of energy that we subsequently named Victoria [what else would we have called her?] and we agreed she would join us, which she did on the 15th November 2008. Life, particularly for Albert, would never be the same again.

Since collecting Albert at 8 weeks old in March 2008 he only spent 17 nights away from at least one of us and Victoria only 7 nights. For Albert, it was only owing to the fact we had not been expecting to get him and had a holiday booked for not long after we collected him. So he went back to the breeder for a holiday of his own. Then a quick weeks holiday in 2010 when they went to a breeder in Dorset for a house stay. Though on our return, Victoria was very pleased to see us, Albert did not appear too concerned and would have happily stayed.

Albert enjoyed 6 months of undivided attention and grew into a fine hansom WFT, though when you see him as a pup we were not convinced!

Albert a wire haired fox terrier at 8 months old
Albert by September 2008

When he first arrived there were light coloured carpets downstairs most of which were replaced very quickly with tiles, wood or dark coloured carpet.

Then in November Albert’s cosy little world was shattered with the arrival of Victoria (14/7/08 to 3/1/20). She was a monster: fast, energetic and much cleverer than poor Albert. Even though she was at least 10% lighter than Albert she almost always got the better of him physically.

Victoria in November 2008

Just that every so often Albert would assert himself and she knew to give it up. But you could see her scheme to get him into trouble or to get something he had that she decided she wanted. She was so cat like we nicknamed her Puss. She also had a knack of nipping Albert then somehow keeping her bum into Albert’s shoulder so that he could not nip her back.

Here taking Albert off to play fight

When people have asked what are WFT like I have been unable to give a honest answer. These two, both wire haired fox terriers. Both from the same breeder were totally different in so many ways. She was clingy and manipulative. He was prone to go off on his own. Though when he did want attention he would let you know. This was strangely all the more satisfying

Victoria sat at the dining table.

She wanted to be always at a physical height advantage over Albert and always sat in a chair at the dinner table. Though her table manners were impeccable and she just sat and watched. Though she knew she would get a share at the end. But at the same time she would get vocal at Albert, if he walked anywhere near the table.

Though Albert has been known to climb up on table: reason unknown!

V&A enjoying a sea breeze on a hot day in Spain.

Although we have been at High Blean for over 9 years V&A have shared five other houses with us and spent a month on holiday in Spain just before arriving at High Blean.

Don’t think of leaving me behind!

Victoria soon learned the signals that meant we were moving. She used to get unsettled by the packing up ready for the removal van to arrive. And we once founder her on top of a packing box as though she was trying to ensure she was not left behind!

When we arrived at High Blean they were both in their element, with lots of space to run around in. Though we did have to keep reminding Victoria that the chickens were not for chasing! We were fortunate that both dogs had been near sheep from being pups and showed no sign of aggression towards them. Which, given we are surrounded by sheep farmers was a blessing!

Winter days spent in front of the Aga
V&A carry out poultry inspection
and when not in front of the Aga could play outdoors.
Wait until he get’s bored and just runs off!

It has been an absolute pleasure to have these two beautiful creatures share part of our lives and we miss them both immensely. Our lives will never be the same now they have left us.

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