This post was published to Ziggy Stardust Sheep Tales at 15:02:39 10/09/2013
So the quite calm and a little timid Todd was handed over by the Jones family and transformed into Ziggy on arrival in Broughton Astley. We quickly began to re-learn about life with a puppy in the house, fortunately this one wasn’t a chewer but boy could he “empty” himself!
Ziggy soon settled into family life and grew in confidence very quickly and in a few short weeks we were venturing out on our first walks which must have been around Christmas 2010. He handled all the visitors over Christmas and particularly fell in love with Grandad Derek, who still gets a special welcome today and Aunty Pennie, Mum’s chocolate Labrador who was wonderfully patient with the sharp toothed little monster and pretty much adopted him, again a precious relationship that remains strong today.
Family life remained fairly normal as Ziggy grew up and got used to us and he became the catalyst for taking slightly longer dog walks than had become the lazy norm in our house. It was good to be able to push Jackki’s lungs a bit on doctor’s advice after a rough few years and for the first time our Bradgate Park tea and cake walk started to include scaling the heights of the Toby Jug. Looking back now it is hard to comprehend that we didn’t do this every week and she really took some convincing the first time to get up there, but Ziggy and a visiting Pennie made it an inspiring morning out.
Ziggy soon developed his trademark love of TV, progressing from deer chasing on Countryfile through to catching cars on the Grand Prix and even chasing the football kicked by various Premier League players. Perhaps his TV highlight of the year came when celebrating an FA Cup semi-final win and a rather splendid Yaya Toure goal.
Trips away in the camper van gained a new dimension and with Ziggy added to the Doggy passport collection we even headed across to France in July. It was becoming clear at this point that poor JackJack was struggling to keep up with the young fellow and as his joints got stiffer we began to wonder if these might be signs of a terminal decline. Sometimes, however, modern vets can work wonders and through a simple pill every day we started to get the old JackJack back and he is still with us today more than 2 years later.
You will notice a complete absence of sheep related content so far in this tale and this theme is set to continue for a little while longer, quite when we turned dog related enthusiasm into sheepdog related nonsense is a mystery to me and will require further trawling of my facebook and web browsing history in order to tell the tale accurately in later blog posts. I can promise that it happens though!
My first post mentions the wonderful Jones family and it was later in 2011 that they re-enter the story, this time firmly establishing their position as great friends. I had been desperately wanting to find out more about the other pups from Ziggy’s litter and had a desire to get in touch to arrange some shared dog walks. However I remained way too English and reserved and didn’t want the poor Jones family to feel stalked, plus the whole army base thing was a little intimidating for mere civilians so we couldn’t just drop in when passing. Writing this now it is clear to me what a fool I was back then.
An exchange of texts around the pups first birthday re-established contacts properly but my suggestions for joint ‘walkies’ were somewhat scuppered by the fact the Jones family had moved up to North Yorkshire in early September. An email shortly afterwards changed things, Skye was again pregnant, “would Ziggy like a little sister?” was the question being asked. “Don’t be ridiculous” said I in response, think of the impact another such shock may have on poor JackJack. Think of all the added complications of owning 3 Border Collies, people already think we are bonkers.
So after a lengthy debate lasting literally minutes, “Yes Please” was the message back.
With the decision justified to ourselves that the two pups would hassle each other and give JackJack some peace and quiet we commenced the charming of the Jones family. This went exceptionally well on our next visit at the end of December when Ziggy got into a big scrap with his dad Billie, tore clothes from children backs and attempted to bite as many people as possible. Perhaps turning up while hormones and tensions were high the day after Skye gave birth to another healthy litter of 8 pups was naïve at best and just plain stupid in reality. In spite of this demonstration of how well Ziggy had been raised in the 13 months since we last saw them they agreed that we could still take our pick from the litter. We agreed that the first born beauty with a little splash of white on the back of her neck would be christened Star (full name Stardust) and happily cleared off to let her grow for a few weeks.
We made a mid-growth visit and walked all the dogs together later in January, Billie and Ziggy still not seeing eye to eye and managed a modest taste of at least one more child. This was also our first full introduction to just what a fantastic cook Karina is, lasagne memories adding to simply wonderful cup cakes meant for a great day. Ziggy’s reaction to the puppies was a little worrying as I recall.
Our next trip North was a weekend in Durham followed by a Sunday collection of our next little bundle of joy on the way home. The rest of the litter had gone off to their new homes a weekend earlier and therefore Star had been spoiled as the only pup in the house and formed quite a special bond with everyone. We turned up with the rabid Ziggy viewing her as potential pudding after he had eaten the children, it felt like a snatch and grab raid as we stole this lovely puppy away from her loving family. Feeling really guilty and a little terrified of how they would get on at home we made our way down the A1 quietly and carefully. Seeing the emotional reaction to handing over puppies and knowing I couldn’t handle it, way too soft me, was a major reason months later in deciding that Stardust would not be having a litter of her own.
After a few tense moments on arriving home a peace deal was brokered very carefully between Ziggy and Stardust and we were relieved to be able to send the photos below and glowing reports back to the Jones family. Ziggy and Stardust now established as the inseparable brother and sister we hoped for.