The Cottage Smallholder

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Fly. My first Min Pin dog companion

Fly the Min Pn plus friendFly, dashing constant companion and coachman, was my first Min Pin. He was a black and tan, loved motorways and high speed. He was far more intelligent than any other being that I have met to date. I would sometimes turn to find that I was being observed by his black gimlet eyes. On the rare occasions that I pulled the wool over those eyes, and left for an exciting spot without him, he would ignore me when I returned. For days.

Eventually, I’d curl up in his capacious basket. After a while he would creep up and scramble to reach the top. And there he would loll, enjoying the one-upmanship.

Fly was born to be a runaway dog. Out for a walk, he would suddenly put his head down and race for the horizon. Many a day I searched for him for hours, running through the complete gamut of responses, from:
“I will take him to the vet and have him put down. As soon as I catch him.”
To (six hours later). “Perhaps he is caught in a trap. I couldn’t bear it if he was in pain.”

Finally I would give up and return to the car for the tenth time. And there he would be, happily jumping about. Sometimes I was so angry that he was reluctant to get in the car. I would have to open all the doors and step back a good distance. Eventually, he would shrink onto the back seat and grovel all the way home.

Returning home, I’d dial the number of the “Boarding School for Delinquent Dogs.” Fly would stare up at me dewy eyed from the floor as I booked him in. For the next month or so he would walk to heel and return when called. The perfect Min Pin. Eventually, I would ring and cancel the course. It was a good school with a long waiting list so they didn’t seem to mind. Gradually our life would slip and slide back until one day when he would put his head down again and disappear.

He never attended the boarding school. He was far too canny. By the time he died, he had a reputation. Danny and I loved him and that fan club had just the two members. Danny held an Irish wake the day he died. A well attended event but I always suspected that the wine was more of a draw than the dog.

Fly had a poor start in life. His beloved mum had died shortly after giving birth. The distraught breeder had kept the pups in a tiny room (with minimal human contact). I was green and innocent when I went to pick him up and had no idea that this treatment would have an adverse impact on his life. I fell in love with Fly the moment that I saw him. But it took years for him to settle down and enjoy this arranged marriage.

Don’t assume that all breeders love their pups. Visit and observe.

Two of our present Min Pins are from a great breeder, in Wolverhampton. Min Pins are far more popular in the north of England than they are in the south. I am happy to drive miles to collect a new pup if the breeder is as good as Madeleine Whittaker. She loves her dogs and treasures her pups. She plays with them and cares about their future homes and owners.

If a pup isn’t played with during the first few weeks there will be Human/Min Pin bonding problems. You might bond with your Min Pin pup but your Min Pin may never really bond with you. I am sure that this must be the same for every breed of dog. Beware.

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  1. Fantastic blog.

    We too have a min pin from Madeline Whittaker and he’s a little star.
    Loves his (our) bed and his walks

    • Hello Linda.
      We also have a Min Pin from Madeline Whittaker. How old is yours please and is he/she red or Black and Tan?
      Would love to know if ours are siblings?


      • Linda O'Hare

        Hi just found your reply! Our lad – Delboy sadly died 2014 aged 16. Loved him to bits. He was black and tan. I still have his pedigree to check for you. Now have a rescue girl aged 5, and have just lost a rescue from Cyprus who I had for two years and was an oldie but an amazing girl. I love this breed.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sarah,

    How right you are. I couldn’t live happily without a dog or a cat.

    I totally understand where you are coming from vis a vie Berry. Out of the three Min Pins that we have now I have my favourites and Danny has his. Luckily these favourites include all of the dogs!

  3. Thanks for sharing Fly™s story with us. Pets do add a lot to our lives, I wonder about people who don™t want to share their life with an animal, I can™t imagine creating a home with out a furry critter.

    Sometimes I feel a little guilty when I think about how special my dog Berry is; I think I should feel the same about his brother Basil. While Basil is a great little dog, Berry is so much more. Berry is the first dog I have had as an adult; I bought him to fill the hole left in my life after a very special calico cat died. He has turned out to be a spectacular dog, really a friend. I suppose our relationships with animals are a lot like those with humans, sometimes we really click and fall in love, and other times we just enjoy an animals company.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joanna,

    Fly had a strong personality and was a good friend. He’s been dead for eight years and I still miss him.

    So sorry to hear about your Jack Russell. I do hope that she recovers. Dog attacks are such a shock for the dog and the owner.

    Hi Amanda,

    I love my animals and would find life very quiet without them.

    Hi Pat,

    I had cats when Fly was alive. The cats were boss!

    Hi Celia,

    Fabulous story. I know that angst of searching for hours all too well.

    Hi Sara,

    I agree. Pets do bring joy and heart ache to our lives. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. farmingfriends

    Pets certainly bring joy and heart ache to our lives. What a lovely tribute to Fly. I really enjoy reading all about your dogs and finding out about their personalities and the breed of dog aswell. Superb reading as always.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  6. I loved your account of searching for Fly and then finding him jumping around the car! Where we lived near Welwyn our next door neighbour had a lovely friendly Golden Retriever and they encouraged us to take him on our evening walk across the fields. We lost him – he dashed into a field of mature rape and disappeared. Frantic, we hunted for hours and eventually decided to go back and admit we’d lost the dog. You’ve guessed it . . . he was sitting on the front lawn waiting for us. Of course he always did this, it was a sort of new neighbours initiation right!!! Do dogs have a sense of humour?

  7. They do seem to find that place in your heart that nothing can replace. Cats are about the same way.

  8. Oh dear. Your post then Joanna’s comment. I went a bit quiet myself there. A very fine tribute to an obvious friend and family member. Good advice Fiona.

  9. What a lovely tribute to a dog you obviously loved. A couple of years ago, I would have really liked the number of the boarding school for delinquent dogs (I didn’t know where to start finding one – can you remmber the name, just in case?!) … but now, my delinquent Jack Russell has settled into old-ish age, and behaves herself. Yesterday, though, she was attacked – from behind – by a much much bigger dog, and has had to have numerous stitches. She is very quiet, and I don’t suppose she’ll ever really recover enough to need to go to delinquent school. Your tribute to Fly really brought out how much pleasure and pain are mingled in dog ownership. Thanks


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