When I was born, my mother's terrier ran all round the village to tell everyone that there had been an Event at the Hall! I know Ma loved that terrier but I do not know much about him and certainly do not remember him.
The first dogs that I remember are Joey and Peggy. Joey was a smooth-haired mongrel, about the same height as a small springer, belonging to my Mother. She was black and tan and I loved her dearly. She was soooo long-suffering. I was fixated on driving her and used to try to make her go in 'harness' but it really was not part of her ethos! Peggy was a white and tan springer spaniel. She belonged to my Father and was a 'shooting' dog. She always accompanied my Father when he went shooting, but how good she was, I have no idea. She lived inside and was more of a pet really, I am sure! I did not have much to do with her - she was very much Pa's.
I remember a terrible event - to me, a small child. Peggy had gone missing as happened often with Joey too. On this occasion, Joey had come home but not Peggy. In the middle of the night, the person sleeping in the room at the West end of the house, heard a sort of whining and went down to investigate. Who-ever it was found Peggy outside the gate, in a very weak state. When, next day, she was taken to the vet, she had a very large number of pellets removed from all over. After careful nursing, she recovered, and went on to enjoy many more shooting days!
In the course of time, both dogs departed this life. I do not remember either going or when. Maybe, by then I was at boarding school - I really don't remember.
Then there was Poppy-poo-pa. Where did she come from? I've no idea. She was a brown and white, smooth-haired terrier of some indefinable sort. She was memorable because she just disappeared. She had a habit (as all dogs at home did) of going hunting. That day she was reported as having been seen, about tea-time, in a tired and grubby state, but was never seen again. We thought that she had probably gone down to the river and in her exhausted state had managed to be drowned but it was all speculation.
There may have been others that I have forgotten but we come now into the time when dogs belonged to me!
A black bitch of undefineable parentage appeared in the village and was taken in by the school teacher. She was very pregnant and ultimately my parents took her in. She gave birth to 3 puppies, Gog, Magog and Niggy. Gog and Magog were large yellow, dog puppies. Niggy was a black bitch. After a great deal of wearing down of an imovable mountain, I won and was given the black bitch. The other two were found homes in the village. I expect that I named her Niggy because she was black! As I was at boarding school, it was accepted by all, including Niggy! that she was mine in the holidays and theirs in the term-time. As a very lonely child, Niggy took a very important place in my life, along with my pony, which was of much more use as someone to talk to than to ride! (A future blog perhaps) Niggy's mother was called Gippy and there was only one thought in their minds. That was to escape and to have a jolly good hunt. It should be remembered that in those pre myxy days, there were oodles of rabbits and dogs knew that they only existed to be hunted!! The trouble was that we were in an area with a lot of sheep, so dogs out on their own were in danger of being shot (which was what had happened to Peggy) As a result, one of the dogs was on a lead at all times. They were swopped over regularly. Every now and then the 'on lead' dog would manage to get off and away they went. Even if you were there, you could shout your heart out and they wouldn't take a blind bit of notice!! However, despite a great deal of heartache caused to all, they both survived. I do not remember how Gippy met her end, but I know that Niggy lived to a good age and her story follows next. [I hope to add scanned photos later]