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  Telfer's 11th year
  A sad year
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(Page 7)

Telfer's 11th year

A few years have passed but Telfer is still as lovely and clever as ever.
We cannot believe that we have had Telfer for nearly 11years. What a decade of enjoyment, for us certainly and we think for Telfer also. When we see some of the TV programmes about cruelty to dogs we know what a lucky dog he is.

Telfer aged 11

Little has changed in Telfer's life over these last 5 years ... regular daily walks in the nearby field or local woods, the same boring meals and daily routines. What has changed is that the daily jogs became walks due to the 'boss's' arthritis. When joggers go past us on our walks I check him just in case he wants to join in.

For a while a water squirter produced a new bizarre game for Telfer which we do not understand. If we placed it on the floor Telfer went into very slow motion and approached it very warily, then "froze" before moving backwards just as slowly. Naturally we had to give a few squirts, not at him but in his direction. Backwards and forwards he would go for about 20 minutes or until we became fed up and took the water away. His concentration on the squirter was intense and he snapped at any squirts which came close enough.

One of Telfer's favourite vantage points

His real favourite house game is rolling a tennis ball down the stairs. He stands on the top step while his 'victim' throws the ball up for him to catch before 'throwing' it back down the stairs. He has a job to 'throw' it because the ball gets stuck behind his large fangs but he manages. When a ball inevitably comes to rest on the top-but-one step he just stands there until we say 'you get it', whereupon he does just that and throws it down the stairs so the game can proceed. This game has been played by 3 different milkmen when they call to collect their money on Thursdays They have no choice, Telfer sees to that. In fact anyone who comes to the house, whether it be a TV repair man, a plumber, newspaper boy, just anyone, gets the 'play with me' treatment.
An insight into Telfer's nature was illustrated by the family's expereinces with a very trusting wild garden Clackbird which became our 'friend' for about 2 years. This magnificent cock Blackbird claimed our front garden and house for its territory, no doubt in view of the copious amounts of food we put out for the birds on our doorstep. Throughout 2 winters we fed him. He responded by singing loudly and richly from several perches surrounding the house, no doubt saying ' this is my territory'. The 1st spring he and his mate nested 30metres away on the opposite side of the road so he would fly backwards and forwards with beak stuffed full of grated cheese or mealworms to feed his young. The 2nd spring the Blackbird pair were wiser and nested only 5 metres away in a holly bush with a good view of our doorstep. From there he could see when we opened the door which was the signal for him to fly straight down to our feet within easy touching distance expecting food instantly. When his youngsters fledged thier 1st flights were down to our doorstep which was was a lovely experience for us. The Blackbird had so little fear of us that he would hop into the house and along the hall carpet if we were a bit slow in feeding him.
The wild Blackbird and domestic dog seemed to have an understanding of each other. Telfer just treated the bird like another member of the family. He would sit quietly on the doorstep while the bird hopped around him. In the next photograph the blackbird is seen looking into the house waiting for food. The next moment ( and numerous other times too) he hopped OVER Telfer's outstretched paws and into the hall. When we came with the food he calmly hopped out again to the feeding dish with Telfer a casual onlooker.

This Blackbird raised 3 broods both summers ! He and his mate(s) worked tirelessly from dawn (about 4.30 a.m) to dusk and by the last brood he was looking decidely 'tatty' and far from the lovely glossy black cock blackbird from the Spring. Sadly about 2 weeks before the final brood was ready for fledging the female fell prey to a marauding sparrow hawk leaving our 'pal' to raise them alone. His visits for food became intense and it was a relief for us when one morning he brought them all down safely and we watched him feeding 3 scruffy youngsters on the doorstep right at our feet !

Telfer at Christmas


Sadly this year has seen the passing of Zippy, the cat. Zippy was a tough half-siamese cat, who survived until the amazing age of 21 years ! It was a very sad time for us, but inevitable one day.

Zippy, a wonderful cat
In all that time his only visits to a vet were for his annual inoculations. He still had his lovely glossy coat.
I can't say that Telfer missed Zippy because his behaviour did not change, but who knows what he thought and what emotions he had. Telfer had known Zippy since he arrived as a small puppy. They were pals but it seemed a sort of 'acceptance' relationship rather than 'fondness'. May be this was due to Zippy being the boss and also in his later years a bit of a bully. He took a delight in moving Telfer out of the way, and would even get off a comfortable lap, jump down onto the floor and tap Telfer lightly on the foot causing the dog to move to another spot. Then Zippy would return to the lap, mischief accomplished.

Red Bar