Hamish Clegg

My name is Henleygrove Hamish Davar and I am a black Scottish terrier, born on the 14th April 2003 at New Fosse Farm, Hornblotton near Shepton Mallet Somerset. Eight short weeks later on the Saturday 7th June 2003, I was collected and taken to what was to be my new home, in Ringwood, looking after Jim and Jean Clegg.

You may call me Hamish and this is a short summary of my life to date, my experiences when acting as a Foster Dad for STECS and how I have coped with the family I look after.

The Home

As I have said, I now live in Ringwood looking after Jim and Jean Clegg, who have two grown-up daughters, a son-in-law, a grand-daughter (I like blondes), a reasonable well behaved grandson and to my surprise, when I arrived, two ‘tasty’ female West Highland White terriers, who are sisters, 6 months old than me. Did I fall on my feet or what? Lucy the Westie lives with me and her sister, Milly lives with Jim’s eldest daughter, Emma.

Home life was and is average for a dog of my heritage and background, nice garden front and rear, access to all areas, use of 2 double beds, good food and well trained ‘parents’. There is a reasonable amount of ‘traffic’ in front of the bungalow, to keep my bark ‘tuned in’, with passing dogs to ‘surprise’ and keep me amused.

Next door there are two Dalmatians, male and female, with a small female Westie along the front boundary.

Jim refers to all these females around me a Hamish’s ‘harem’, but so far he has made no attempt to let me test out the ‘crumpet’ on tap. I like blonde, well-proportioned ladies, dog or human and I think the lady next door, with the Dalmatians, has a crush on me. Jean says that I am a ‘babe magnet’, but once again as a dog with all full working parts, I wish she would let me try. I suppose you might think I am frustrated but I am a Scottie and there is a need to ensure that we don’t become an extinct breed.

We go on holiday to Scotland every year, so I can run along the beaches of the West coast of Scotland, play in the hills and generally enjoyed life. In fact I have learnt how to navigate, from the front passenger seat of Jim’s camper van, he thinks he uses Sat Nav, but I know best. I organise regular stops, (I can smell good places to stop miles away) and tell Jim when enough is enough and an overnight stop is due. This training was not difficult but it did seem to take Jim a long time to understand that I plan, organise and run these family holidays, in a similar way to Jean thinking she runs the house!

This happy and laid back approached to life was maintained for 4 years until around January 2007, when Jim and Jean decided to join STECS. I don’t think anyone realised what affect that Internet search, one January evening, would have on the family particularly when Scotties are involved. Jim and Jean joined the Scheme and immediately offered to help rescue Scottish terriers, acting as a foster ‘parent’ and to adopt a female Scottie, should the need arise. Well I rubbed my paws, more female company was not to be sniffed at, or rather it was, but you know what I mean. What joy, plus trips to garden parties, dogs to bark at and go for, (only playing), grass lawns covered in Scottish ‘crumpet’ and their female carers, with hundreds of new smells to linger over, mark, revisit and store in the memory banks. Who said humans make bad decisions, I could not believe my luck!

The adoption: Bonnie Clegg

In June 2007 the telephone rang, Jeanette from STECS (my kind of lady), had a female Scottie called Bonnie, that wanted a new home. I listened intently to the telephone call and immediately realised that my ‘harem’ was about to increase, Christmas had arrived earlier than normal. ‘Christmas day’ arrived and on the 13th June, we set off to Gloucestershire to collect Bonnie in the camper van. Bonnie was a four year old Scottie, slim, shy, athletic and in need of some ‘tlc’ from Jim and Jean. Well, Jean fell in love with her immediately, Lucy became her mother, Jim did what he was told and once again I couldn’t believe my Scottish luck.

BonnieandLucy

On the return journey Bonnie settled into ‘camper van’ life and started to ‘bond’ with the family. Once we got home she was much more reserved and hid behind the settee or stayed in the bedroom away from the family. However, within days she started to become more adventurous and moved around the house. Day by day I saw her confidence increase and then a strange thing happened, her tail started to rise and become straight, like mine.

I first noticed this when we were on one of my nightly walks with Lucy, Bonnie and Jean. Jean sometimes needs to be prompted to take us for a walk, so I have learnt to start my nightly demand for ‘walkies’, around 8pm, after the picture box on the wall, plays the theme tune that indicates the end of something called Coronation Street.

Normally it takes about an hour for me to persuade Jean to go to the toilet, which indicated it is time for her to get the leads out. Bonnie took sometime to learn this practice however she is now alongside Lucy and I, outside the loo door and then by the front door, where the leads go on.

Well back to the ‘rising tail’, after a few days we all began to notice that towards the end of each walk, Bonnie’s tail went from down between her back legs, to up-right and Bristol fashion, just like mine and Lucy’s. Soon it became obvious that her confidence and mood was reflected by the position of the tail. Now her tail is more up than down. I guess that is what STECS is all about, Bonnie improves every day and I of course would suggest that this is due to my influence and guidance, assisted in part only, by Jim, Jean and Lucy.

The first foster dog: Hamish 2

January 2008 and another call from Jeanette, (she really likes me but Max, her Scottie, can be very protective), saw the arrival of Hamish 2. Hamish 2 was another 4 year old black Scottie, weighing in at 16kgs, with a bit of an attitude and some ‘baggage’. As before, we set off in the camper van, went to Jeanette home and then had to wait, while they collect Hamish 2. When he arrived we were all introduced and I immediately thought my normally ever increasing ‘harem’ was now under threat. We had a few words and I thought we had achieved an ‘understanding’. It was my family, my home, my camper van, my harem and he was a visitor, quite simple really, even for Hamish 2.

hamish-2

The plan as I later learnt was to assess his ‘needs’, put him back on the straight and narrow and find him a new home. The next few weeks were interesting and challenging for all concerned. Hamish 2 would often push his luck and ‘top dog’ fights would soon start. I gave as good as I got but never really got told off. Hamish 2 would be put into another room, we would make-up, normally just before the night-time walk, dog treats all round and then we would both look forward to the next ‘dust up’. Over those weeks we all had two or three trips in the camper van to re-house Hamish 2, who picked up the name of Yo-Yo, after two failed re-homing excursions. However by February, Hamish 2 fell on his paws and found a new home. There is a Scottie God, thank you.

And the beat goes on

Life then returned back to normal and I began to realise how well protected we Scotties are, with those kind and special people who belong to STECS, working so hard to care for our very special breed.

 

I went to the AGM in Derbyshire in April, with Bonnie, Lucy, Jean and Jim in the camper van and revisited some of the old ‘smells’ left over from the 2007 garden party. I found the AGM a little less interesting than the garden party, but things did perk up when the local cat kept strolling into the meeting room. Both Bonnie and I voiced our opinions at the cat, apparently to the delight of the STECS members present. I always find it difficult to understand why my apparent bad behaviour is received with so much joy. What a great life.

Well time to sign off, I hope you have enjoyed my look at life from the ‘Scottie’ angle, thanks again on behalf of all Scotties for your work and help, to those less fortunate than me and my harem. Keep up the good work and I’ll see you all soon.

Hamish

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