So How Did I Determine I Wanted A Dalmatian?

A few years after the heart breaking passing of the last of my Afghan Hounds, I began searching for a “short haired” breed of dog. After 20 years of grooming up to 5 dogs every day, after I had arrived home from working all day, I was completely and utterly groomed out.

Backtracking a bit here, I had moved into a beautiful suite situated above 4 car garage located on 20 acres. And it was here my last Afghan Hound passed away.

Once my heart had healed I began researching breeds of dogs. Several breeds captured my imagination, but I kept returning to one, the Dalmatian. And the choice was largely due to my new social environment, not the standard cliché of which Dalmatians are most noted for, the Disney movie.

Daily, driving to work I would have to stop at an intersection few blocks from my home, to allow a man riding a horse to cross the street. And daily I would have to allow this same man to cross the street on my return drive home from work, though he was usually riding a different horse, on my return trip.

I remember after the first day of this unexpected crossing, I could hardly wait to get home and telephone my dad.

My dad had catered to my passion for horses from the time I came out of the womb, wanting to ride a rocking horse! Kidding. But if they could not find me, I was always asleep on my rocking horse. A feat that my parents could never understand how I did not fall off while in deep sleep. Perhaps this was God’s way of showing them the passion that would reveal itself throughout my lifetime. And this was my passion which my dad always did his best to ensure I remained immersed in my environment.

“Dad guess what?”

“What” came his reply?

“I ran into a guy riding a horse both this morning and again on my return home from work. How exciting is that!”

“My goodness must be a keeper then!”

“And, get this, he was actually riding English, not Western like most men do!”

“Oh a keeper for sure then!”

This intersected stop continued daily throughout the rest of the week. The conversation on Friday night added new and tremendously significant details, it went like this:

“Dad, guess what now?”

“What, oh I don’t know, you got a ring?”

“No don’t be silly; every time he is on a different horse, and all of the horses have roached manes!”

“Roached manes did you say?”

“Yes, I did; yes, ROACHED manes!”

“Ohhhh. Hmmm. Now I AM thinking this is a real keeper, don’t chase him away!”

“Oh, you are saying, ‘be nice to the boys, Fancy!’”

“Well I don’t think I would be going ‘that’ far, but you get my drift, if the horses have roached manes that probably means that he plays Polo, and at least can afford your lifestyle; and to get me off the hook would be nice!”

“Dad!”

“Keep me in the loop, this is actually very interesting.”

A few days later I was in the neighbourhood pub with a friend having dinner. We were invited to join a table of “what appeared to be fellow equestrians”.   And, they were the real deal.

I gave one gal at the table a ride home, as she had invited us both to go riding with her the following weekend.

And take a guess where she lived?

At “the Polo barn”!

When I dropped her off, she gave me the tour. She had one sweet deal, rent free cottage in exchange for feeding the polo ponies.

The Team had jointly purchased a 20 acre farm bordering on an 1800 acre designated Equestrian Park (the property where my suite was located was on the opposite side of the park). They offered self board to the public; but this gal, though not a Polo Groom, was offered a sweet deal feeding in exchange for the cottage.

The Team consisted of City Firefighters and City Lawyers, all of whom owned at least 4 Polo Ponies each, with reserve horses in each one’s string. And what an assortment of personalities comprised the team!

I am so bad, the wheels had started turning at an accelerated pace in my mind!

Maybe I had better wait until we all had that ride together before I mentally had moved all my belongings into the cottage! But I hope you can see, the breed of dog I was searching for, had already been chosen, it simply had to be a Dalmatian!

Polo Loves

Little Miss Cone Head or Miss Bucket Head!

Horror of horrors, Gennevieve was now confined, restricted. Her world had come crashing to a limited vision and ability to move. She who had known no boundaries, now had a very confining and restrictive world.

Very similar to what I imagined a bull in a china shop would resemble, was Gennevieve with a Conehead. She crashed into everything. And she blamed everything but herself for those crashes. After the first 30 minutes or so of banging into counters, furniture, walls, Gennevieve would bark at whatever was restricting her passage. Her fury was released through her vocals. And vocal she was! She was going to shout at the world to move and let her through!

She could not understand why the Veterinarian would have put this contraption on her head. He must hate her! And she in turn would hate him from this moment in time forward! Let’s keep the balance scale even. Records up to date. And it would not be until she went to the Veterinarian years down the road from now, and he was to relieve her of pain, that he would be permitted back into her world of persons of acceptance!

Conehead 2                          Conehead 1

Unfortunately as is common with pets and children, they do not comprehend the why and why not of certain restrictions in life. Excellent training for us however for our future experiences in life. Restrictions should be there to protect us, to aid and abet us in progressive and controlled development. But Gennevieve did not perceive this restriction in that manner at this time.

Gennevieve was having her first lesson in learning to think before she leaped in life. And she was not enjoying the learning experience nor the journey. She needed to stop and think about where she was, where she wanted to be, and the widest and most unencumbered path to traverse from position a to position b. She had to slow down and think all things through before she bounded into action.

Perhaps this is when Gennevieve began composing her Life’s Book of Rules. Maybe this environment stimulated her to want to begin to record life’s dos and don’ts, in order that she may always be on top, and always be the winner, always have the answers.

The characteristic to be the winner in all that she did in life, began when she was born. This was an innate quality of her personality, and specifically was why Gennevieve came to live with me so very very early in her life. More on that later; that story will be called, “Why I Was Chosen As Gennevieve’s Mom”.

She had to be the first, the best, the strongest, the smartest, the quickest, the cutest, and she would fly into a whirling dervish if she wasn’t. To watch such a small, tiny puppy have a temper tantrum at only 10 days of age is quite the scene. She would scream and growl and blow herself up into such a stature, all to be the one and only of the moment.

This Conehead was stopping all of that. And she was angry, and she was going to exercise her anger at everything opposing her paths. But to get so angry was not helping her to be rid of the cone, nor widening her path of travel, and was also terribly exhausting for her. (Go figure! lol)

Her first solution was to sit and stare at the wall. She sat and contemplated the wall for quite awhile, at least 10 minutes. When all of a sudden, she ran strait, square and directly into the wall. Poof. The cone shattered into pieces. She paused, sat and looked at the mess around her for a few seconds and then turned wiggling with joy and delight that she had conquered her problem! She had climbed the mountain and won! She was victorious. Now she got it, this was simply another test for her to win. And she had won. The cone was off. She was free again. She was the victor! But not to wear such a crown as the Conehead!

But the reason for the cone was not yet satisfied nor fulfilled; she still had stitches in her ear. And her ear had the highest level of fragility, and the easiest to re injure without the protection of the cone.

So back on the new cone went. That is the first I remember what I later termed her “ballistic face”. She could bore holes into your soul when she was angry. There was no questioning the “ballistic face”, the complete expression of eyes, brows, muzzle, lips and posture always stated clearly, she was angry!

And so back into the wall she ran. Poof, off it came again. This time however it did not break, but only separated at the seam. And she looked at me as though, there, I will do it again, and again, and again, as long as you put that horrible thing on my head!

Gennevieve, you do not understand sweetheart, the cone is to protect you from further injury, and I cannot let you learn this lesson through the road of hard knocks and suffering. You must wear the cone!

Now her solution of getting this thing off of her head, was challenging me to find a way to prevent wall shattering removal immediately following application. So as every farm owner knows, I reverted to the be all and end all of farm emergency products: duct tape! And I then duct taped the seam, the edges – top and bottom, inside and out. Now let’s try this all over again. And it worked. Duct tape, every horsemen’s cure all to a myriad of farm challenges!

And once again, Little Miss Princess was horrified her solution was not working for her any longer.

Gennevieve clumsily suffered through the next ten days with the cone. Stories will follow of her plotting with the cat, the humiliation suffered from the laughter of the horses, and the joy of scaring the Blue Jays, all in the attempts to win a victory once again over the cone!