Hovis, my ruby Cavalier, would never be a 'show obedience' dog, but she was a treasure. She came to me just a couple of days before Christmas 1994, and walked into the house at 10.30pm. With the attitude of 'hands on hips, she demanded her bed and biscuits', and settled in as if she had been coming round all her life; she was almost 6 years old and had had no obedience training whatever.
For all that, when she came to me, she was under contract to appear in Richard Strauss' opera 'Der Rosenkavalier' at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. So, for the next month, she was backwards and forwards between me, her breeder and 'the stage', and she took it all in her stride. Nothing bothered her, nothing worried her, she was completely 'bomb-proof'. This was not the first time she had 'trod the boards'. At a year old, our wee 'diva' had appeared in the same opera with Pavarotti. She had sat on his lap and he was reported to think she was lovely.
When the appearances were over and life, as they say, returned to normal, we started obedience training. I knew we would never make the grade, but learn she did and within the limitations I had set, she did very well. At 9 years old she gained The Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze at Fair City DTC. At 10 years old she went on to pass the Silver with Robbie, and The Road Safety Test with very high marks.. For a few years, she also did her turn at South Eastern Counties Toy Dog Society Obedience Show. Whilst Robbie, (Leebren Rob Roy), still participates, as she grew older, Hovis went into showing in the breed veteran classes, being placed most times and winning twice. She was still involved, she still went out with us and no way would I ever leave her behind.
Hovis, you may not have made 'the grade' in the obedience ring, but we don't live for the show ring, and I could take you and the others anywhere, and know you would behave. Dear little dog, I only had you for six years, but the hole you have left will never completely heal. All of us - you, me, your son Robbie and our new addition, Angus, have had a lot of good times together, and together is the word. I miss you terribly, the house is so much quieter because you are not there - snoring - and I miss your snoring. Sleep peacefully Hovis, and thank you for six very good years, I would not have missed. As with Patty and Jennie before you, Hovis, you were a pleasure and a joy to live with, and I am so very proud of you all.There was an epitaph to another well-loved dog, which I think fits all dogs.
Their attachment was without selfishness,
their playfulness without malice,
their fidelity without deceit.
Reader, if you would be loved and regretted,
profit from the example of ... Patty and Jennie and Hovis.
(The dog was Queen Victoria's King Charles Spaniel - Dash.)
Patty (Crystal Caprice), on 12.12.96 at the age of 14½, and her sister Jennie (Rosina Sunset) on 15.5.97 almost 15 years old, were taken to rest after a long, healthy, happy and active life.
From the pages of DOG TRAINING WEEKLY Magazine. we learnt of the South Eastern Counties Toy Dog Society Obedience Show, back in 1985, and we stayed to continue the running of this unique twice yearly show. Over the years, we have made many, many friends and I have never once regretted the day I decided to have Cavaliers.
Article first printed in 2001 © Callander-PH / S.E.C.T.D.S.