April 2010 - Alfie our Patterdale Terrier

 

Gypsy Ponies Bowthorpe

It’s very quiet in our household this week. Alfie, our Patterdale terrier, has had to have an operation and is now at home with a restrainer (like a lampshade) over his head to stop him chewing the wound and removing the stitches. He is not happy. He is protesting by not even barking at the paper lady or the postman. When I take the ‘lampshade’ off his head for him to eat his food, he becomes more like the old Alfie, running around, throwing his toys in the air, tail up with the joys of life. ‘Keep him quiet’ the vet said. But as soon as we turn our backs he starts to chew those stitches – so back goes the ‘lampshade’. I’m sure all you dog owners recognise the pattern. Currently I am not allowed to take him for a walk – and I really miss my nature rambles. Most of all I am missing my friends the gypsy ponies at Bowthorpe Chapel Break. The ponies don’t seem to suffer from the cold at all. Rub behind their ears and under the thick mane and they feel warm even when snow is settling on their backs. They love to eat the carrots that are delivered by the ton into their fields – so does Alfie. I keep telling him he should leave them for the ponies – their need is greater than his – but he doesn’t believe me. The ponies are very tolerant of Alfie and will actually put their noses down to greet him – especially the youngsters. Alfie treats them like large dogs and would rather sniff their backsides. His reaction couldn’t be more different when he sees ridden ponies. As far as he is concerned ponies should not have riders on them and he makes it quite clear that he considers it an insult to the pony! He does this very vocally and I get very embarrassed.

The gypsy owner checks up on the ponies on a daily basis and I often see him going about this daily task, removing twigs from their manes and tails, checking their hooves, making sure that they are not losing weight etc. He calls them and there is a stampede as they all gallop towards his voice. He always has a friendly word for me and Alfie. He tells me his mares at Chapel Break are all 3 years old or more and are pregnant so I am looking forward to the foals as they come along. Alfie is just looking forward to permanent removal of the ‘lampshade’!

lingibson@bawburghvillage.co.uk 

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