Ernie the dog

Posted on June 6, 2010


It’s Sunday morning, 7am.

The thunder and lightning storm woke me up and now I am stuck in an inbetweeny world where I am awake, yet the internet is broken. For some reason the interweb can’t seem to squeeze through the wires when it rains here.

To keep me company Ernie, Border Terrier, 19 months old, is very obligingly letting me cuddle him.

Border Terriers are like living breathing Steiff teddy bears. A bit bristly and stiff limbed, but the perfect size for a snuggle on the sofa with only the slightest coercion.

He keeps us on our toes. We still worry that he will disappear when we let him off lead on walks.

It’s not that he wants to run away. It’s just that he can’t resist the thrill of the chase when there are rabbits about.

There are ALWAYS rabbits about around here. We live just down from Rabbit Central (it’s near Upper Badger Set and just past Squirrelsville).

That said, the amount of time he is gone is tending to be a bit shorter. It’s more like 1/2 an hour now, instead of 3 or 4.

I’ve just asked George if he’d like to say anything about Ern and he said “It was worth the wait to get him”

He refers to the fact that we had not let him have any pets until this little puppy came along.

Strangely, we still find it hard to believe that we have a dog as we don’t think of ourselves as dog owning types.

I guess we are now.

We’re more fond of Ernie than I can tell you. I can’t imagine him not being there wagging his tail when we come through the door, or barking at the postie every morning.

He is Family Member #4 and makes us laugh so often with his special ways like his constant need to sit in puddles.

When Ern was just a little one, and by little I mean nearer to the ‘breed average’ of 6.6Kg instead of the burly 12Kg specimen that is giving me dead legs now, I typed up a ‘note that I found in a Border Terriers Bed’. It apparently was a sort of ‘guide to being a Border Terrier’ being passed around by our furry friends…

I put it on the Border Terrier Group on Flickr.

That’s where we found a lot of lovely Border Terrier friends like Tony, Ollie and Griff, and Den and Meg.

Here is that list. Since I wrote it other people have added their BT’s ‘quirks’ too. I thought you might like to read it. Feel free to add any more ‘special features’ in a reply below.

1. Wait until you are around 4 months old before starting to shed any hair at all. By then it’s too late for them to change their minds, you are part of the family now
2. Ensure your feet always smell of tortilla chips
3. There is a special noise for every situation that must be learned, including the favourite: “I have accidentally shoved my toy under this sofa”
4. Develop a useful way of getting the humans attention just by watching what they are doing and looking slightly sad
5. Hair must be deposited on every surface, always add one to iPod screens, human tongues etc, but do not allow any to come off on their ‘grooming brushes’ (whatever they are)
6. You must arrange to have black eye bogeys, each morning
7. Before barking sometimes just say ‘uff’ whilst winding up for a session. Sometimes just go ahead and make them jump.
8. Always bark at old ladies visiting the house next door, you never know if she is a burglar in a dress
9. Don’t let them do housework, without barking at brushes, mops and vacuums
10. Don’t allow them to think they can do any gardening, without you attacking rakes, spades etc
11. If they continue to do gardening sit on the bit of soil they are digging, it’s fun
12. After they bath you, try doing an impression of a cartoon animal that has been electrocuted by having a funny after-shock every 5 seconds
13. After bathing also attempt to run around the slippery kitchen floor and bang into the cupboards, it’s a hoot
14. If you are very clean after a bath rub your cheeks on the floor, I don’t know why, just do it. Oh, also rub your cheeks in any squirrel and fox poo
15. Also, once you are clean, you only have to allow them an hour or so to enjoy this state before you find the muddiest bit of the woods to roll in
16. Make sure you keep you beard slightly matted and spiky, you can do this by dipping it in food, sawdust, puddles etc
17. If you get hold of a towel or blanket, chew it so hard that it makes a really annoying creaky noise on your teeth
18. You must pull and pull on your lead to get to the park so that you can barely breathe when you get there, it embarrasses them and makes them look like bad owners, which is good
19. If too hot, a lie down in the gutter at the side of the road; it is a perfectly sensible thing to do
20. After dinner why not show the humans what you would do with a lady dog, given the chance?
21. Try to dig up a large tree in the garden, it is a major project and needs daily effort
22. Chewing pebbles is also a major undertaking and the work must be tackled frequently
23. Anything containing rubber must be sought out and eaten as quickly as possible before the humans see you, rubber gloves and balloons top this list
24. All twigs and sticks in the garden are to be taken to the centre of the lawn for immediate destruction
25. If you are ever violently sick after eating something that they think is vile, don’t worry, you can eat it again in the future, there’s no connection there
26. Any type of wild or farm animal poop is to be considered a delicacy
27. Puddles taste better than clean water
28. Make sure you walk the whole length of the room after drinking to give the floor a good soaking with beard drips
29. The humans give you toys so that you can destroy them, it amuses them; they must have money to burn
30. Practise curling up into a tiny ball the size of a cat, yet on other occasions stretch to cover most of a sofa
31. Two strange sighing/purring noises just before falling into a deep sleep is considered ‘quite cute’ by the humans
32. Stroking your ears is addictive to small children, make sure you take advantage of this
33. When seeing small children you must stand on your hind legs and try to cuddle them
34. If you see a dog that the humans perceive to be bigger and scarier than you, just run right up to him and jump on his neck, no worries!
35. It is very important to greet whoever comes in the door with as much enthusiasm as possible, even if they have only been gone for 5 minutes
36. Feel free to pee freely on their feet as you do this

Ingrid! says:

Tony Sez: 36. Always check the wastebaskets for anything that has been mistakenly tossed out that is still of value. Examples include tea bags, wadded up tissue paper and dust cloths.

sue908t says:

37. you must vigorously scratch the surface you are about to sleep on for a full 5 minutes from various angles before curling up and going to sleep!

cronuskane says:

38. Stare intently at the neighbours cat in a threatening manner even though you know you will never catch it.

GwennieP says:

Hamish says: whenever the humans have other humans over to your house, who then ignore you while eating & talking, give the visitors a fright by first :

a) putting your front paws on the middle of their chair & poke your nose up between their legs to get a look at what they’re eating. This always makes them jump & is very funny.

b) sneak up under the table, grab the visitor’s paper napkin off their lap, trot away & then shred it noisily. Gets them every time.

AND, both of these make the owners look like they haven’t trained you at all! Priceless!

Slaters11 says:

Wait until the humans have just finished hoovering then go and find lots of sticks from the garden, bring them inside and shred them all over the carpet.

Ingrid! says:

41. Wait till all is quiet and then explode into frantic barking cause you smell something not quite right.

daveled1 says:

And don’t forget if you are in the pub or any other public space, lie prostrate in the middle of the floor not under anyone’s chair, humans will walk around you.

Chapmanc123 says:

41. When your nine weeks old it is essential that you crap everywhere without exception. Then look up at the human as they have to clean it and put on your cute face so you get a cuddle for pooing on the 400 quid rug.

BorderJoy says:

I just can’t get over how right-on this list is … ours do ALL of these things its fantastic! I can’t stop laughing!

Posted in: The Suttons