Chapter 12 - Orchid’s turn

The winter of 2005/6 was a time for Elaine to get more involved in Working Trials, with Orchid going towards her UD qualification, and Whistle starting out on the long road as well. The two dogs made an interesting contrast, with Orchid plainly very capable when she felt like it, and Whistle only too willing to try at every opportunity. Actually, Orchid is more difficult to motivate, as she is not as obsessional about toys or food as Whistle, and also has a much more independent attitude, as evidenced by the two occasions when she took herself off hunting for several hours (both times with Alice in tow…she was always up for an adventure !). The first time was at the Post Office, when she was missing from about 5 pm until 2 am (Alice got home at 4.30….she had shorter legs), and was at one point spotted some 5 miles away near the main road to Cambridge. The second time was in a way more worrying, as we hadn’t been in Weobley long, and she went off at 2.30 pm., not to return for 12 hours. At the time, Elaine was in Bermuda doing her “Grandmother” bit, leaving John in charge. As it happened, throughout the length of her absence, no calls were scheduled between England and Bermuda, so the first time Elaine was aware that there had been a crisis, it was already over. John still trembles at the thought of having to say he had lost the star performer!! Alice didn’t make it back this time, but a phone call to John related that she had spent the night in a kitchen extension being built some 6 miles down the road, and had eagerly accepted the proffered breakfast prior to the joyous reunion. Of course, these incidents go to highlight Orchid’s tracking ability, and she was demonstrating it in competition as well.

Orchid wins Cdex at working trials

Orchid had proved herself in the ring and in trials, but as yet had not had puppies. This we attempted to rectify, and now there was a suitable dog in England , one that we had bred, namely DJ, Whistle’s brother Saxophone, owned by Maggie Spencer. Orchid’s previous experience and DJ’s lack of any meant that the mating was not quite as ideal as we all, including the main participants, would have liked, and therefore it was no real surprise when the scan at 32 days proved to be negative. Elaine continued with Orchid’s working trials training, getting cross with her reluctance to jump, particularly the long jump, and withholding her food treats. This came to a head at an actual trial, with Orchid refusing even to try, and the judge suggesting she might be in whelp. Ten days later, she produced a litter of six well-grown puppies. The vet attending to her after the birth said that, although he liked to see mothers lean and fit, this was ridiculous! Nature certainly looks after the next generation, because Orchid had obviously put all her efforts into the puppies, and they indeed were a fit and active bunch. This time the theme was trees, and a couple found their way overseas, one to the American mid-west, but this time his new owner came over to collect him. Sterling has done well in the States, and is even now about to sire a litter for the first time. We don’t really feel dynastic, but it is nice to think of our lines spreading in other continents.


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Chapter 11 - Moving On