First tale of 'Prince'

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Post by Maywalk on Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:02 pm

It was during 1948 when I first met "Prince".
He was a scruffy white (I use that word loosely) Cairn Terrier, which in today's society would be termed as an outcast. He was a ratter and could sense one a mile off and would catch it with the ease. As he snapped at it the rat's back would be broken in two. As my father-in-law used to keep pigs this was a good thing but the pigs had been made redundant before I started courting my hubby.

"Prince's " pride and joy was his house brick that he carried about every where. YES I DO mean a big house brick. How the heck he managed to keep it in his jaws I will never know. He always had a red beard with continually slobbering over it.

When hubby and I got married we went to live just up the road from where my in-laws lived. "Prince" became a permanent lodger from then on. When I became pregnant he stuck to me like glue to a blanket. He was by this time 10 years old.

When my son was born "Prince" was SO protective of him that he would only let me, my hubby and the doctor go any where near the baby. None of hubby's family came near Barry - my baby - when "Prince" was about. When Barry was a year old we moved about five miles away. It was a house that had been sorely neglected and needed some decorating doing.

My hubby had got £50 in a building society, which he drew out to get decorating materials and linoleum with. We worked hard and made it look quite cosy. This was in 1950 when fitted carpets and electric cleaners were not heard of.

I still went back to the shop where I used to get my rations every week and I always called in to see my in-laws while in the village. It would be about the third week after moving when I called to see my in-laws and I noticed that "Prince" was looking very thin.

My mother-in-law said that he had gone off his food after Barry had gone.

I asked her if I could take him home with me and she was all for it. So I ended up with my rations plus a skinny scruffy Cairn terrier with a piece of string tied to his collar. He had never had a lead in his life. He was that excited to think that he was coming with me he dashed outside and picked up his house brick ready for a walk.

I had to laugh at the driver of the bus when I asked him how much it would be for the dog because I was taking it to live with me. He said very seriously "I have known dogs to move before but never have I known one to take its own foundations." Meaning the brick. It caused a great deal of laughter in the bus.

When "Prince" saw Barry he was like a young pup dashing about and he soon started to eat well and put some weight on. There was no fancy dog food at that time, the animals had the same food that humans ate and there was not so much wrong with the breeds then like there is now through inter breeding.

Insurance for your animal was unheard of but we had to pay 7 shillings and 6d a year for a dog licence. Equivalent to about 37.5 pence in today's coinage. It does not sound a lot but in those far off days it was a tidy sum. I personally think that the licence should be brought back, it would perhaps stop people from abandoning their animals and having so many taken to compounds all over the country.

Anyway to get back to my story.

By the time bonfire night was with us "Prince" had found his way around and knew exactly when to cross the road to go to the wasteland to do his business.

When the banger's started I asked hubby if he had seen the dog because I knew he did not like fireworks and I was worried about him. We looked for him everywhere but had no luck. By 7-30pm I told hubby that I would take Barry to bed. I got to the bedroom and I let out one yell.

"Prince" had been there during all the banging and he had ripped everything he could get his teeth in to. There were feathers all over the place bits of eiderdown and wallpaper shredded and lino ripped. Even the bars on the cot at the side of our bed had been chewed.

My hubby had come up to the bedroom when he heard me shout "Oh my God what the hell have you done?" Hubby and myself tried to get "Prince" out from under the bed he knew he had been naughty. No way was he coming out from under there.

In our futile attempts to lift the double bed and move it round the room to get the dog out I saw the funny side of the situation and I started to giggle. "Prince" was moving at the same time as us and stayed under the middle of the bed so that no matter where we moved he was still out of reach.

I was laughing so much in the end the dog came out to see what it was all about wagging his tail as though he had done us a good turn. I was cross with him but not for long. It took me nearly two hours to pick up all the feathers and try to get the room tidy again. As I said earlier there were no electric cleaners then.


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Post by Tan on Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:23 pm

Such a lovely and very touching story our Maisie, the bond between Prince and your Barry was wonderful, it's so lovely how protective Prince was to make sure nothing happened to what felt like his baby and protecting you both too..
Such sadness when you found Prince had been pining so badly, but how lovely when you took him home with you.

I smiled about the bus driver, hehe, that brick went where ever your Prince went for sure.. Very Happy
Such a shame he had been petrified with the fireworks, as a lot of pets are sadly, and most likely he did all that damage to try and take his mind off the noise outside.

So funny though with you moving the bed, I could so picture Prince doing that underneath, hehe, no way was he coming out.

I do so agree about the licences, they should be brought back, it may also make many realise they do have a responsibility to their pets, and must take great care of them too. But of course sadly there will always be many who wouldn't even think of the law, they would just get one anyway I suppose..

Thank you Maisie, this was lovely to read.. Very Happy

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Post by Maywalk on Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:40 am

Glad you enjoyed that tale Tan. Here is another concerning 'Prince' and I hope they dont bore you or anyone else reading them. They have all been taken from the main book that I have done for my family.

'Prince' and his reflection.

I decided that it was time "Prince" had a bath and the only place that I could think of where he would not be able to jump down from was in the old kitchen copper. There were no washing machines in 1951.

Oh Boy! What a ta-ta that was trying to make "Prince" look like a prince.

He thought we were going to drown him and I was trying to wash him while Cliff held the copper lid partly over the copper so that the dog would not try to jump out. It was a struggle but we did it and what a difference it made to "Prince" he looked absolutely gorgeous.

He was all white and fluffy and I gave hubby orders to walk him up and down in the sunshine to dry him off while I got myself and my son ready to go out. We were taking "Prince" out with us for a long walk as it was such a lovely summer's day.

"Prince" was not too happy at not being able to roll in the muck but we managed to keep him clean until we started out. He dug his heels in as we were about to go out of the gate.

No way was he going anywhere until he had his brick firmly in his mouth. By the time we met Amy, my sister, to start out on our walk by the canal he had acquired a red beard.

He resembled a reversed Santa Claus. With a white coat and red beard.

When we got to the canal we let "Prince" off his lead and as he had never been near a stretch of water like that in his life he decided to go right up to the water's edge. So consequently he is looking at another dog with a brick in its mouth (his reflection) and he promptly decided to jump in to get aquainted.

Fortunately hubby managed to step in the water to fish him out before he got carried away with any undercurrent's and by the time the dog had rolled in the shale that made the path, was strewn with he was a green, grey and black dog with a red beard. Just like something out of a horror film.

Hubby's feet and trousers bottoms were soaking wet and he was squelching around trying to look dignified. It was SO funny and once again I started laughing. My sister and myself were doubled up with laughter while hubby was trying to put the dog back on the lead. Even then the little devil would not shift until hubby had found him another brick for him to carry because he had lost his original one when he (dropped in) to see his double. "Prince" looked a proper grot-bag and I wanted to get him home as quickly as I could.

He was always getting into situations that brought much laughter to us especially when the next bonfire night came round again.

We made sure that he was down stairs this time but I was not reckoning on "Prince" making for the big cellar that we had running the whole length of the house. This was where the coal man put the coal when he made a delivery. A big grating used to be outside the front window that was lifted up for the coal to be thrown down the hole. No such thing a central heating in those far off days.

I had been watching the fireworks going off with Barry in the garden and I had not realised that hubby had left the cellar door open. "Prince" had made his way down the cellar for safety and no amount of coaxing would make him come up the steps from the cellar.

When the fireworks finished he decided to come up and when we looked at him I went into fits of laughter. All that was white on him was his ruddy eyes. He must have tried to bury himself in the slack from the coal. Al Jolson would have been jealous if he could have seen him.

We were up till two o'clock in the morning washing him and getting him dry.

He was a great character and even though it is well over fifty odd years since he died from cancer I still have to smile at his antics.
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Post by Tan on Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:51 am

I can picture you and your hubby all ready for action when the bath for Prince started, so funny in mind too.
Thinking of you walking so proudly along with Prince spick and span on your way out, only to want to hide him coming home again.. chuckles

I so remember 'Kim' our pet dog when I was a child, he would go to the waters edge and continually woof at his reflection, he would run away, back again, and woof some more, but he was not one for going into the water at all, although many friends dogs loved it..

I am laughing about 'Al Jolson' your Prince would have been a great double act then when he emerged from your coal cellar.. chuckles

Such a terrible shame of course your Prince passing away with the cancer, but sure as sure can be, he had a wonderful life with you all and seeing your Barry growing up too.. hug

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Post by Maywalk on Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:44 am

Thanks for getting back to me Tan.
Here is the last story about 'Prince'. He will always be remembered through these 'tales.' chuckles

'Prince' and his pet pals.

By the time 1953 had arrived we had acquired another dog. It was a Border Collie that was going to be put down because it was the runt of the litter. We named him "Rover" and he grew into a lovely long-haired collie that looked rather like "Lassie" the dog in the films. "Rover's" coat was black and white though.

We also gained a cat that idolised my hubby because he saved her life when she had been poisoned, she followed him every where.
"Prince" found the cat in our garden when she was a kitten. I was quite surprised when he came in and kept barking at me as though trying to tell me something.

When hubby and I finally followed him out we saw this little black scrap of a kitten being violently sick and writhing in agony. "Prince" must have sensed the urgency for the kitten although he was not fond of cats and could have killed her with a snap of his jaws.

Hubby immediately ran in for the castor oil and literally poured it down the kitten's throat. He sat up all night nursing the kitten and cleaning up after it kept throwing up but by the next morning "Sparkie" as we called her was perking up and lapping a drop of water.

Her devotion to my hubby after that had to be seen for it to be believed. "Sparkie" followed hubby everywhere. She even fathomed out what shift he was on and used to wait for him coming out of work. She used to run and meet him to walk home with him. It was an uncanny relationship between them.

This next piece will explain what I mean by the close relationship between hubby and cat.

We had no bathrooms years ago and had to have a strip wash down every day at the kitchen sink. Our living facilities were FAR different from today. Houses are not built today without a bathroom/s. They are a MUST in any building regulations now. We had to bring a tin bath in every Friday night and put it in front of the coal fire to get a bath.

As soon as hubby got in and started taking his things off for his strip wash "Sparkie" used to climb up on top of the door leading into the kitchen and when hubby was washing his face she would leap over on to his neck and wrap herself round him. She never dug her claws in just wrapped herself round his neck like a collar.

I had to keep the door shut after she had done this about three times so that hubby could have a wash in peace. I had to lock her in the front room when he was having a bath because she would once again be round his neck.

All three animals used to go out together and the neighbours called them the Three Musketeers.
If any one has seen the film "The Incredible Journey" about two dogs and a cat that was just how our three were. "Prince" would lead and the other two follow wherever he went. It has to be remembered here that there were no restrictions on keeping animals indoors at that time.

"Rover" loved being dressed in Barry's outgrown clothes and he used to commandeer the pushchair or buggy as they are called today. He also had a fetish about his beautiful bushy tail and disliked anyone touching it although my lad could do anything with him including dressing him up in his outgrown clothes.

My son was about three years old by this time and very often we took "Rover" out in the pushchair with Barry pushing it and "Prince" and "Sparkie" walking alongside. The animals that we had over the years have all left footprints on our hearts and we will never forget them.

Wonderful memories about the funny incidents and extremely sad ones especially when "Sparkie" got run over while waiting for hubby to come out of work. I was devastated when I heard about it, but that special bond between cat and master was a different type of grief to mine.

Hubby was heartbroken.

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Post by Tan on Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:55 am

Such a terrible shame Sparkie being poisoned, whether deliberate, or by chance, but sure your hubby saved Sparkie's life, as did your Prince with alerting both of you.
I wonder why she did wrap herself around your hubby's neck while he was washing.

It was lovely you brought Rover home to be with you all there, and I can well imagine you all like you say going out together, a really lovely family there, all wanting to be together.
A really apt name the Three Musketeers.

Yes your hubby would have been heartbroken when Sparkie was killed, and more so with her going to work to meet him.
At least thinking the last part in her life was having your hubby on her mind, and wanting to make sure he came home safely all the times that she went to meet him.

Sadly the last time, was the last time, but so many beautiful memories you both have of your wonderful family'.. hug

This is beautiful what you have written >> * The animals that we had over the years have all left footprints on our hearts and we will never forget them.*

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Post by Maywalk on Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:24 am

Many thanks Tan.
I will have to go and sort out some more stories that have happened to me over the years.
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Post by Tan on Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:30 am

You're very welcome our Maisie, it is lovely to read your memorable stories, and such a lovely bond too with all your pets, they were blessed, just as much as you both were with them as well, being part of a really lovely, and caring family.. hug

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Post by Guest on Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:33 pm

Oh Maisie, Rover must have been special indeed to understand the importance of getting help for tiny 'Sparkie' - and it touched my heard reading how your husband saved the tiny furball's life - just love it!

And how I loved reading of her devotion to him - and the 'fur stole' around his bare neck really make me smile!

The three buddies all out together must have made so many people smile and I quite understand how Rover would so freely let your Barry dress him up, etc

And when I read that Sparkie was run over - no wonder you were sad and your husband simply heartbroken, Maisie - must have been truly devastating - so, so sad.

What a beautiful, beautiful story and I loved reading every word of it - thank you!

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