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Toby’s Tail

Hello, my name is Toby and yes you have guessed correctly, Glyn and Wendy found me a new home, many thanks my friends.

I am a liver and white Springer, 6 years of age (I just hate the word... OLD...) and after some years of being locked in a garage with no one to chat to or to make happy, a chap has time on his paws to do a lot of thinking you know, and I was thinking that just maybe there was a better life for me somewhere out there.

One day whilst I was laying in my shack this man came to see me... "Well!" he said "I think it is time that I took you to see those nice people at Springer Rescue". This wasn't quite the way he put it, but to be honest I prefer not to repeat what he said he would do to me if they didn't take me in, coz it just doesn't bear thinking about... I suddenly realised that this was my owner.

Anyways after a short car ride, with 'yours truly' stuck in the back Well amongst a lot of paraphernalia, we arrive at this place and the notice says KENNELS. "Hmmm", I thought, searching my memory, "I have heard of these places"!,

This was definitely NOT what I had in mind when thinking about a better life.

We stopped and two people came to the car, said "Hello" to my owner and gave me a long, loving look, "YES!" I thought, "now these people are exactly my kind of people"! This was how I came to meet Glyn and Wendy.

Glyn and my owner then started to do some paperwork and I thought "... 'Ello... 'Ello..'Ello, now just WHAT is going on here?", Glyn was asking a lot of questions ..How was I in the house?... Had I had any illnesses?... How was I with children?... What bad habits did I have?... What a dumb question this was!, because just everyone knows that a Springer doesn't have any bad habits, we just have 'Springer habits and a great sense of humour', well, that's what I always tell them.

Then Glyn calls over to this other person who was standing to one side and asks him to take me for a walk, he comes to the car and gives me a very quizzical look, strokes my head and scratches my ear, tickles me under the chin and clips on my lead. "Yes... Yes... Yes and YES, he has had a Springer before", I know this because, apart from my being a very intelligent and adorable little fellah, I also know what I like and he has just done four of the major things that I just LOVE. There IS another thing however that is most important to me, but it wasn't dinner time for another few hours.

So I hop out of the car thinking that this was a great chance to have a good look at this place called a 'kennels'. Naturally, as my paws hit the ground, I immediately find the limit to the length of my lead, "OK" I say to myself "time to take charge of the situation", I dig in my paws, summon up all my considerable strength, I'm a well built little guy, and head off towards the buildings... Oh woe is me! ... I'm not getting anywhere!, as my paws skid on the ground. This person is tall and obviously used to our little ways, he is holding me back, but I notice with some satisfaction that he is having to hold on to my lead with BOTH hands. He brings me back to heel, which is the LAST place I ever intend to be, well hey... if a Springer can't be at least three paces ahead, I've had to settle for two after lengthy 'negotiations', then sorry buddy I am NOT going for any walks with you, (he understands my Canadian wording, coz he lived in the cold white north out in the colonies for a long time, don't you know).

So, after a wag of the tail and a big 'sorrowful' eyed look, which is guaranteed to melt the most hardened of Springer handlers, I deem it the most sensible course of action to sit and look up adoringly at this person. You know ... that 'MY HERO' type of look. It seems to work, he smiles and starts walking along a path which leads to the first building. Ok! "So what's this?", I think, "it looks very nice and clean". I look inside and see that there are two rows of kennels, most are empty but two do have residents.

Having had a brief conversation with Jake, a very handsome black and white and quickly finding out that he is being well looked after, and that this 'home from home' is really quite comfortable, I begin to feel a little less disconcerted about the possibility of my having to spend some time in here, not luxurious but really rather pleasant and a lot better than my garage, room rates quite reasonable as well.

OK, I've seen enough of this building so on to the next. Right!... Lead tight and Orrff we goes, Oops there's that 'paw skid' again. OK, hey "Now WHAT is this?", C... .A... .T... .S, quickly checking mental dictionary, Hmmm... a species of feline, furry critters with big whiskers and a long tail, just great for chasing but NOT for catching, able to defend themselves very well as they have very sharp claws at the edge of their paws, "Ah well, never got the chance to chase them anyway, so am not interested, well not unless one just begs to be chased, it might happen some day".

A quick nod to the horses as I skid past their building and over a bridge, "looks like an interesting river down there, darn it I forgot my swimming trunks", and did I just catch quick sight of a goat or two on my way here?"

"And here is a large field, I wonder if he'll let me run all over it, Nooo chance, he stops by the gate, sits on the fence and starts to fuss me ... Hey keep that up for long buddy and I'll be coming home with you voluntarily!". A mare and her youngster wander over to say hello, the youngster promptly nips this person on the shoulder to catch his attention, he laughs, and an says 'Ouch', the youngster seems satisfied.

On the way back to where the car is situated I hear what sounds like the car I came in start up and go down the driveway, "Oh well, there goes my transportation and my owner, leaving me as usual", but this time I'm not altogether totally heartbroken, this place looks very nice and will certainly be acceptable as a temporary domicile, if it really has to be!.

We get back to Glyn and Wendy and this other person who has three Springers of her own with her, all previous temporary residents here. Her name is Joan and she also gives me a long loving look as we arrive, yes I have noticed just how much these good people love Springers, Glyn and Wendy have four of their own also from here. Maybe I'll get to know them in time, it could be fun.

After a few more words with Glyn and Wendy, the person who has been walking me opens the hatchback on his car, says to Glyn, "OK, I'll foster Toby for a while and see how he makes out". Then he turns to me and says, "Ok fellah in you go", well I don't need a second invitation, there's a blanket in there!".

We arrive at the house and I jump out and immediately have a good sniff around, as he leads me around to the conservatory at the back, Ok ... good smells here. We go in, he has a bed ready for me, plenty of fresh water, and yes there's a door to the garden with a hook on it to keep it open, plus some temporary fencing around what could be an exit place for me.

I give the permanent fencing a cursory inspection, yes that's secure and high enough to protect me, now let's have a look at the other fencing. "Right, nice job here, this will take me at least three seconds to find a way through to get to the kitchen door if he leaves me in the garden and I want my dinner or a 'cuddle'. I wonder if he has modifications in mind?".

Greg sits me down, points to the bed and says "on your bed, please and lie down". Being a really good lad I immediately comply, he then gets out the brushes and gives me a 20 minute brushing, whilst talking to me in a soft tone of voice. Well, this is a very good beginning, it's so long since I've been groomed, I settle down stick my paws in the air, my chest is my favourite, close my eyes and think of rabbits whilst enjoying every second. He then tells me what a handsome fellah I am, well this is new to be told how handsome I am and it does my confidence the world of good, I like it.

Humans tend to think that we Springers are just dogs, and dogs don't understand what is being said to them, I would at this stage like to point out how incorrect this is, my knowledge of other dog's intelligence is somewhat limited but I can tell you in no uncertain terms that our breed will immediately understand most things that are said to us, especially dinner, treats, walkies, when we are being praised, told off, being told not to do, or, to do something we do not WANT to do, in the latter case whether we listen and decide not to hear is a totally mute point.

Just after 5pm and a lot of loving care my foster dad goes and gets my dinner, changes my water and sits with me whilst I get stuck into the grub, hey what's this?, I am being told to take it slowly and to chew not just swallow the dish whole, food and all, Ok I think... next time I'll do just that.

Having finished off my dinner in what must be record time and having had many slurps of water, well EXCUSE ME, but what are these things called manners?... don't you know that Springers are ALLOWED to make a heap of noise whilst drinking? and I haven't yet come across a bucket large enough to stop my flooding the place at the same time.

RIGHT, now what's next on the agenda? "Hmmm, wonder if it's the garden or maybe a walk". "Aha, a walk, I'll just leap around, buzz that towel in the corner and flip on my back whilst Greg tries to hook up the lead". "Right, Orrrfff we jolly well go, and yes Greg is coming as well on the other end of this lead. Ok, you pull one way, I'll pull the other and we'll agree to meet somewhere in the middle, how's that for a solution?, well if you want me closer to you than that, then maybe I'll agree,... in time".

Ok, now that I'm back after taking Greg for a walk all I want is a visit to the garden, a slurp or ten of water and a good nights sleep and more food, this walking the butler makes for a hungry dog, unfortunately whilst I was walking him I kept hearing that horrible 'D' word, wonder what my being overweight means, ah well I'll worry about that sometime next week, but until then I want to eat..eat..eat and then eat some more.

We've had a little try at a play but I couldn't remember how to do it, you know, a quick dash, a little nip on his kneecap... now what comes next?

Wonder why he keeps all these towels around?... ...

Wonder if he gets up early?... ..groan... ..

Wonder if he will give me breakfast?... I like breakfast... .

Wonder if I'll take 'Jeeves' for a walk bright and early?... now did I just hear Greg groan?

Hmmm... that garage seems so far away... wonder if he's missing me?

Wonder how long I'll be living here?... .

Wonder... wonde... ..wond... ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz snore... zzzzzz SNORE... ..zzzzz.

I wake up with a start, no one here but me, "I'm lonely, whimper... whimper".

Then I hear Greg's voice through the connecting window, "It's OK fellah I'm here", with a sigh of contentment I settle down and sleep 'till morning.

Up bright and early, for my first day... visit to the garden - mission completed up by a very handy tree stump, breakfast good, great long walk and then a good rub down, now I know why the towels. Right! now for a good sleep and get fit for the next long walk of the day and then another sleep until DINNER! And then maybe another walk and visit to the garden, good thing it's Saturday...


Up bright and early... ate a hearty breakfast and then went to visit 'Jeeve's' relatives... great time had by all, I kept them entertained and they kept me in biscuits!... most satisfactory, flipped on my back a few times and yes they scratched my chest for me... .LOVERRRRLY.

Meant to mention that 'Jeeves' allowed me to sleep in the house last night and I was a very good Springer, I didn't even pinch one of his socks... mind you the laundry basket did look very inviting, but I want to stay here, so I'll put on the 'model dog' act, it might just be a very good idea!... one of my many, naturally.

We return from our visiting and a long run in the countryside, I was very good... came back every time 'Jeeves' called me, well on the third time of calling anyway, what on earth are these words 'Jeeves' keeps using?... 'IMPROVEMENT REQUIRED', well my friend if you will just trim and thin out my ears a little, then I will be able to hear your call... . that is if I decide to.

We go to the conservatory, I lay on my back as 'Jeeves' advances with towels in hand, lovely! I enjoy being dried off, a little growl of pleasure, eyes closed, big smile and back to thinking of rabbits and DINNER.

Just then the phone buzzes, 'Jeeves' picks it up and I hear him say "Hi Glyn, yes Toby is fine thanks, it's good of you to check on him". Then I hear the words that I was hoping the most to hear, ... "Oh and Glyn you can stop looking for a home for Toby because he has one here, I HAVE DECIDED TO ADOPT HIM"... .well need I say more!... . Suddenly I'm the happiest Springer in the world.

And now for a message from my 'Jeeves', I'll allow him to have the last word... . this time!

Message from 'Jeeves'

Hi everyone, I've been in the service of Toby for just over month now and he has proved every day that I was quite right to accept this position. In a short time he has become a very good friend and companion and he certainly knows how to treat a 'Butler'.

Springers by nature are a fun loving, responsive and hard working animal, but where they excel the most is in the areas of affection and the loyalty that they will give an employee who treats them with respect, loyal service and most importantly with buckets of Tender Loving Care, this includes walking and running them, drying them and brushing them constantly, with special attention to their ears and making sure they get just the right diet. Whatever you give to them will be returned 100 fold.

Yes they are a head-strong, sometimes wilful breed with a definite character of their own, they enjoy nothing more than being out in the fields running and sniffing out anything that is of interest to them, and that is most things out there, whether it be on the land or in the most smelly pond or mud pile they can find. But that intense look of pleasure on their faces and the constant wagging of the tail as they work let you know beyond doubt that their work is nothing but fun to them.

I find that training a Springer to accept you as 'The Boss' is best accomplished by working with them as a friend, with love, a gentle tone of voice, firm attitude and most of all with consistency. If you tell them to do or not to do something you must ensure that you continue to instruct them until they comply with your 'request'. Dependant upon your Springer's character this can sometimes be a very frustrating experience but be assured that they will take any hesitation on your part as a sign of weakness, they are very good at finding weaknesses and most intelligent in this respect.

Well, the first month of our life together is now complete, I am looking forward with joy to the months and years to come, this little guy has already found a place in my heart as did my first Springer many years ago, strangely enough his name was also Toby, so really I guess that the present Toby not only has a good head start with me, he also has a very good image to live up to, to date he is doing an excellent job.

To finish this part of our story I would like to add a couple of points:- It seems to be a fallacy that you can't teach an old dog new tricks (to train them), I'm presently seeing the proof that you most definitely can. It may just be that it is a matter of bringing out the qualities that are inherent in this breed.

Please remember that to adopt an older dog is not something to be entered into lightly, it is a big responsibility, however if after a lot of thought you decide to go ahead and offer them a good home, then the saying that a dog is for life is of paramount importance, and, I'm sure that you will find the rewards you will get will be well worth the efforts and the love you put in.

I hope you will find that it is not just for the duration of your Springer's life that you will enjoy the rewards but also for the duration of your own life, with all the happy memories and the love you will feel for them over all the years after they depart. My first Toby, who was a black and white, still has a very special place in my heart.

In these times of International threat and uncertainty please be vigilant whilst walking in the countryside, on our shores or near our reservoirs. If you see anything that is unusual, suspicious or that even raises a question in your mind PLEASE, report it to the authorities, we have our part to play. It will probably be nothing to worry about but it is better to be safe than sorry, the authorities will be pleased that you have mentioned it to them so that they can check it out. It could happen in our country!

With thanks to Glyn, Wendy and Joan of the Springer Rescue Organisation, I'm so very pleased I have come to know you. Keep up the great work you are doing for our friends.

Warmest Regards,

'Jeeves' ... aka, Greg
Toby... I said the last word, NOT... last mention.

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