I said a while ago that I would write this - so here is the story of my best dogpal Prince.
Master and mistress think he had the hardest life of all their dogs. He was wandering on the streets like me, but he was in the north of England in winter which is a lot colder and nastier than Andalucía.
One Saturday afternoon master and mistress forgot they were in their thirties and were busy watching Top of The Pops 2 and dancing around to music from the 80s.
Bendog (the black labrador) gave his usual single bark but they ignored him.
Later on, master went out of the kitchen door into the garden and asked mistress why she had left the back gate open.
She hadn't of course. It seemed someone had come over the back wall to see what they could steal but when they heard Bendog's bark they opened the gate from the inside and did a runner. Obviously not shutting the gate 'cos that would have slowed them down.
So master decided another dog was in order. A young barky one, as Ben and Paddy were clearly more interested in sleeping than kicking up a fuss.
And next day they found Prince at one of the local rescue shelters. Mistress wrote a tiny bit about how Prince chose them in this post.
Prince had been on the street for months during November and December when it was cold and horrid. When he was picked up by the dog warden he had dysentry and was poorly. He had tablets and stuff at the rescue place but he was still very thin when master and mistress took him home. He was around three, or four, or five - no-one could say for sure.
The rescue people told master and mistress he had been thrown out because the couple he lived with had split up and neither of them wanted him. But they also said something about how it wasn't the first time he had been chucked out and rehomed. Poor Prince. I would not like it if master and mistress threw me out now I have found a fine home.
He was very good and very quiet. But he did not join in with the other two dogs. He always stayed right on the edge of the pack. At mealtimes, he watched the others sit, so then he learned to sit too but he sat in the corner on his own, and when they started to eat he did the same.
Soppy mistress burst into tears the first time she saw him eat and his stomach expanded to show all his skinny ribs. But master and mistress didn't overfeed him, they knew that he needed to be built up slowly and consistently.
Although he was the youngest dog, he never threatened Bendog - who was topdog. After a while he started to mix more and he grew stronger and his body filled out. Soppy mistress stopped crying at feeding time.
Master and mistress were not as chilled as they are now. At bedtime, the dogs had to go in the kitchen because master did not want them to go on the sofas. (haha). One day mistress went to call Prince into the kitchen and he snapped at her. Master offered to take him back to the kennels and she was horrified.
Even though Prince always regarded master as pack leader, mistress would never have seen him go back to the kennels. She thought he had suffered enough as it was. Anyway it was the only time he ever did, so he must have been having a bad fur day.
Master and mistress thought he had been hit in his previous life. He hated it if anyone brought their hand anywhere near his head or did nasty quick movements. They thought he needed lots of love for the rest of his life because he did not seem to have had a very good start. Four or five years of being chucked around, thrown out, and beaten for being a bad dog must be pretty horrid. They wanted to make him feel happy and secure in his new home.
They must have succeeded because Prince became very confident. He decided he didn't like most men, women with short hair because they looked like men, people wearing glasses and/or caps, cyclists, motorcyclists, not keen on horses or big trucks - so barked at them all.
When Bendog crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Prince naturally became topdog. He was getting on well with Paddy and they played happily and had lots of fun times running up and down the beach. They often went camping with master and mistress.
Mistress wanted to come to Spain for her 40th birthday - they had not been on holiday without the dogs since getting Prince. They did not want to take Prince to boarding kennels because they did not want him to think he was being thrown away again.
So they got some dog&house-sitters. This was a hoot. The first "experienced" couple turned up and the guy was terrified of Prince - who realised - so helpfully kept snarling at him. Despite taking their travel expenses, after a few days they wrote to say they would be unable to come.
Mistress sent a very sharp letter to the agency asking for her money back. The interview expenses were refunded and another couple was found pronto. They were both good with the dogs. Prince didn't bother snarling.
Master and mistress told the sitters they didn't need to take Prince and Paddy out because they could just play in the garden but if they did, not to let them off the lead. What did they do? Let them both off the lead together on a nice grassy open space - right by a main road. And they didn't want to come back when called. As if that wasn't stupid enough they actually told master and mistress what they had done.
Prince and Paddy both came with master and mistress on their big adventure through France, Spain and Portugal and ended up living here.
He barked at everyone. He ran up and down our terrace and barked at the gate. He jumped on the table, he nearly jumped over the wall. He had a fine time. All the neighbours called him "El malo". Paddy was "El bueno". That only leaves "El feo" so that must be master because mistress and I are not feo.
Prince was happy to be my friend but Paddy was not. But after Paddy went over the Rainbow Bridge I became a house dog with Prince and we became great pals. We would lie at our gate together and he would bark loudly. Even though I am much bigger and younger he was still topdog, just like when he joined the pack and Bendog was topdog.
He found a fine new trick. Every morning after breakfast, he would go looking for the cleanest whitest possible thing to wipe his nose on. The throws on the sofa, the clean washing, master's beige shorts (not his black ones obviously). Even if mistress called him out of the sitting room, he would laugh, wait for her to turn around, and go and wipe his nose anyway.
Last summer he had a mild stroke while he was asleep. He woke up and he struggled to walk, but after a while he was ok. Master and mistress were very worried because they did not think he was a physically strong dog. He was obviously the runt of the original litter as he was a small GSD. As he grew older his back was sensitive. He stopped jumping on tables.
But he surprised them both - whatever he lacked in physical strength he more than made up for mentally. He didn't run quite as fast to our gate, but he still went to bark at everyone and everything.
And when mistress went to the UK last year Prince knew it was the right time to cross the Rainbow Bridge. She is so soppy. Master and I sat in the patio with him one night and over he went. We stayed with him while he went right over so that he wasn't alone. He went across so peacefully and with dignity. He was around 13 or 14.
Master waited a day before he told mistress because she was visiting family and he didn't want to spoil it for her. But she didn't sleep the night he did tell her. And she still cries now. Even though Prince would do little snarls at her and furlylips. But she was never afraid of him.
Here is our very favourite picture of the three of us: me, Prince, and master (actually it is the only one - mistress had just bought the digicamera). Master is doing furlylips and furlynoses too. Nobody knows whether master or Prince started furlylips and furlynoses first. Mistress thinks it was Prince, but master copies it well now. I wish Prince was still with me at our gate though and I would have shared my blog with him too.
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