Old wives' tales are perhaps as old as language itself. They're part of our oral tradition, originating long before pen and ink, books and movies, and certainly before the Internet. They've probably have survived through the ages because they offer comforting advice about experiences that we all share, have little control over, usually worry about and have more than a grain of truth to them, never more so than in agility. More well perceived humour from the Agility Whisperer.
A Mother's Advice
There were two pieces of advice which mothers supposedly passed on to their sons. The first was that you should always look at the mother before making a permanent commitment to a girlfriend. What would the girlfriend look like in twenty five years time and secondly how would her behaviour change? Would the silver tongued young lover turn into a carping harridan?
This piece of folklore returned to me the other week. Several people were looking at a furry bundle, which was the new pride and joy of the family. What do you think she is going to be like, asked one person? Now that is a very difficult question. Even if you see the mother there is much left to chance in the choice of a puppy, even if we do all the puppy psychology tests before we part with our hard-earned money. Will it end up as a Mini when we wanted a Midi, with a 'D'? One interesting piece of information I discovered recently, about people, is that most of the genetic code concerned with intelligence comes from the mother. So now you know who to blame. As our genetic make up is so similar to a dog it probably applies to dogs as well.
Oh, I almost forgot the second piece of advice given to a son. Never go out with someone who wears red shoes. I never did understand that one!
The Wise Woman
A new member arrived at the club. She had been a member at another club, until a change in job meant that she had to move away. She asked the membership secretary, a wise woman, what the members were like.
An Enduring Problem
Many older readers will, no doubt, remember this old country proverb:
He, who lies down with dogs, gets up with fleas.
I am sure that there is now a 'Spot On' solution in the 'Frontline' of remedying this ancient problem.
Improving Your Compost
Gardenerís Question time has confirmed the country gardenersí long held belief that a compost heap benefits from regular application of urine. Now are you going to do it yourself and suffer the embarrassment of the neighbours at the window with their binoculars or are you going to train the dog to do it. It beats having white patches on the lawn.
It is probably all academic, because as an agility handler you are going to be away so much of the summer that you will never get round to making a compost heap.
The Mummers Are Coming
In many parts of the country there used to be a tradition of 'mumming'. On New Yearís Eve, children would go around with their faces covered in soot. They would carry dirty dusters and brushes to sweep away the old year.
If you do not have any two mummers, just let the dogs out in the garden and then watch them dash about the house. It will achieve the same result.
The Bogey Hole
How many of you remember tales of the Bogey Man and the Bogey Hole? In our house the Bogey Hole is the cupboard under the stairs, not the left nostril, which is a wonderful source of detritus. Arachnaphobes should stop reading now. The bogey hole has a wonderful micro-climate, which seems to be ideal for spiders. If possible, our Large Munsterlander will sneak in there and spend hours waiting for the spiders to come out to play. Oh well, little things please little minds.
Oh, please donít threaten your new puppy with the bogey hole. It could turn him off tunnels for life.
Who Said Don't Walk Under Ladders?
One enduring superstition is not walking under ladders. It is probably very sensible if you do not want something dropped on your head, although it might be preferable to getting knocked down by a car.
The other day I was emulsionning a ceiling in brilliant white. I had not dried the roller properly after the first coat and splodges of paint were going everywhere. After a while I noticed our black Miniature Poodle. He was lying under the ladder and had been instantly transformed into a Dalmatian.
The Lock of Hair
It used to be a tradition that a lock was cut from a young childís hair and put away safely. In many rural areas the hair was brought out at the time of the wedding and the lock of hair from the bride and groom were mixed together. It was meant to expedite a family and ensure that the children would be good tempered.
I wonder if anyone has ever tried it with dogs?
Cartoons: Kim Blundell