by Sasha Denyer, as told to Barry & Pat Denyer
As you can see from my photograph on the Index page, I am a Pyr of distinction. Indeed, I am a British Pyr or Pyrenean Mountain Dog, as we like to be called over here. Not only am I a British PMD, I am also referred to as a 'Rescue' Pyrenean. This is a grossly insulting term, since it was I who saved Barry and Pat from a life of being Pyr-less. They should be (and are) eternally grateful.
I have to confess that I can remember little of my time before I selected my new human 'pets.' I do recall that I spent 2 years at The Gables Kennels in Leicestershire, under the tender loving care of Lorna Ireland, after my previous human 'pets' decided to go off in different directions. Lorna was very kind, but she was also very busy as she had lots of other Pyrs living with her. The kennels were okay but I really preferred to live indoors, so Lorna and I decided that it was time for some deserving humans to give me a new home.
The Story So Far.
It was back in March--or was it April?--when Barry and Pat came to call. They brought their daughter (Dawn) and a Rough Collie called Sam. We got on famously from the first minute and once they opened the rear door of the estate car (station wagon), I was in like a shot. It was quite a long drive to my new home, well over 200 miles, but when we arrived I thought that someone had created heaven on earth! We ended up in a village called Coolham, which is in the South East of England in the county of West Sussex. We are about 30 miles south of London and 20 miles from the coast. The house that I now own and control is set in 1/3 of an acre and has lots of rooms and cupboards. I am not allowed out the front because there is a road at the end of the drive and Barry and Pat haven't put a gate or a fence up. Instead, I run free in the back garden (yard), which is much bigger anyway.
My human 'pets' soon discovered that a 3 foot high stock fence, backed by hawthorn hedge, was no barrier to a determined Pyr and over the first few days I made a point of visiting all the neighbours. After Barry increased the height of the fencing to 4 feet, I found that I could go upstairs, climb on a bed and make my escape through an open window. Unfortunately, Pat caught me just as my rear end was about to disappear through the opening. Now they keep all of the windows locked in position so that avenue of escape has been closed to me.
Like many other Pyrs I am 'food motivated.' I'll do almost anything for a doggy chew. I will even run to Barry when he calls, if he has a doggy chew in his hand. I soon discovered the flip-top bin in the kitchen. It contained lots of lovely smells and morsels of food. Getting the lid off was easy but then Pat put the bin in the garage. Little did they realise that this Pyr was a self-taught door-opener. It didn't take me long to get into the garage as there was a door from the kitchen. They now keep the door locked--spoilsports.
If you think that locking a few doors and hiding the doggy treats will stop me, then you have another think coming! So far I have 'borrowed' two frozen fillets of cod (in batter) which were conveniently left in a baking tray on the kitchen work surface, thoroughly investigated the contents of several yoghurt cartons and shredded the plastic bag that the frozen chips came in. My human 'pets' sometimes have a meal called 'fish 'n chips'. My sources tell me that Americans refer to these things as 'fries.' In reality they are lovely big chunks of potatoes that are deep-fried in vegetable oil--nothing like those horrible, skinny things my 'pets' get from McDonald's.
Speaking of McDonald's reminds me of one of my favourite foods--hamburgers. Barry and Pat don't routinely feed me these delicacies but I have found a vital source. We go along to football (soccer) matches from time to time and the grounds that we visit often stage evening matches, under floodlights. The stadia aren't as big as the ones that we see on TV and the crowds are a lot smaller. They do, however, have one major advantage--children. Kids love to come and say 'hello' to me and you would be surprised at the number that stroke me with one hand while clutching a burger in the other. Not for long, if I have anything to do with it! Wow, food on a stick!
Barry and Pat even watch football on their TV and I take great delight in walking in front of the box just as their favourite team is about to score a goal. They sometimes call me a name other than 'Sasha' but I can't repeat it here!
Life in Coolham is laid-back. In fact, most of the time I like to sleep. I'm not too fussy where or how I do it. Out on the patio is fine because I can keep an eye on my territory at the same time. In the dining room, flat on my back with all four paws in the air, is also okay because it is the warmest room in the house. When I am in the mood, I sometimes go and lie down in the lounge (living room?) so that I can keep an eye on my 'pets.' If one of them gets up to go to the kitchen, the loo (bathroom) or the front door, I can make a bee-line for the doggy chew cupboard and sit, patiently, staring at the door. There isn't very much to do in Coolham as it is such a tiny village--just a pub, a garage and a couple of dozen houses. Whenever we go out it usually means a trip in the car. Oh, how I love to jump in the back of Barry's hatchback, leaving a trail of white hair all over the dark seat covers. As soon as we pull away I lie down, but if we stop at a junction or traffic lights I wait a moment before popping my head up so that I can glare at the driver in the car behind. It's worth it just to see the reaction on drivers' faces!
After my arrival in the Spring of this year (1997), it took Barry and Pat sometime to realise that I was fond of children and other animals, if just a little too curious. My 'pets' keep a couple of sheep and a couple of pygmy goats at the bottom of the garden and once a week when they get their bedding changed, I go and 'help' Barry. I had to put that in inverted commas (quotes) because he doesn't actually need my help, but I do like to go down there to make sure that there are no bears or such like. Barry says that there haven't been any bears in Coolham since the last Ice Age, but I check anyway.
Barry goes out very early every morning, long before I am fully awake. Actually, it is just after 7 o'clock but I do like my beauty sleep. He goes to work for a company that produces computer software and they are based in a stately home about 20 miles away. Apparently Macro 4 is a very nice company and they have a family picnic on the lawns of the estate every year in July. This is called 'Sprots Day' and I would have been going to this year's event (as a star attraction) but unfortunately Barry and Pat decided, at short notice, to go to Northern Cyprus on holiday. I begged to go with them but the quarantine laws in England mean that I would have had to spend 6 months in kennels, in isolation, when we got back. I had to make do with 2 weeks of staying at home with Dawn and Karl (Barry & Pat's grown-up off-spring). I am going to make sure that I get to 'Sprots Day' next year because I hear that there are lots of children and lots of food. Barry and Pat took their sheep and goats along a couple of years ago so I reckon that it must be my turn next time.
It is rapidly approaching Christmas and that means lots of food for my human 'pets.' They have turkey with roast potatoes, roast parsnips and lots of other lovely vegetables--including brussels sprouts! Little do they realise that I am going to get a piece of this action. I'm quite partial to a bit of turkey but am acutely aware that I mustn't try to eat the bones. I'll have to make sure that they strip all of the meat off and dispose of the bones very carefully. Apparently, it is a tradition, in our house at least, that we all sit down to Christmas dinner at about 1:30. The humans eat lots of food and drink lots of wine, rounding the meal off with a stodgy Christmas pudding, covered in cream, brandy butter and similar goodies. I like the sound of that. They all wear funny paper hats and get thoroughly drunk. This should prove interesting as I have never seen either of my 'pets' overcome by the booze. They say that it is because of the strict 'drink/drive' laws in England and they don't want to risk losing their driving licences. But as they won't be going anywhere on Christmas day, they can have as much to drink as they like.
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day and my 'pets' are talking about going to a place called Pagham which is on the coast, about 25 miles away. Apparently, they have a thing called a Pram Race. I thought that prams were for babies but in this case men dressed up as women will push prams, with men dressed up as babies in them, in a race from pub to pub. At each pub both team members have to drink a pint of beer before dashing to the next pub. Basically, the winners are the last ones standing or the first to cross the finish line!
I have babbled on for quite long enough and my paws are beginning to ache, so I will finish for now. However, that means that I haven't been able to tell you about: my trip to Arundel Castle; a nasty experience at the Vet's; how Sam and I play chase around the house; my new party trick of making my eyes go in different directions at the same time; my favourite TV programs; how I acquired the nickname 'Squishy;' how I handle Sam's more romantic attentions; and much, much more.
Oh, well, until next time...
Lots of love and sloppy kisses,