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Not another Irish Twerphound...

Although the alarm clock had gone off at 6.30am, it was a lovely day for an agility show. The sun was peeping above the horizon to light an azure sky, the birds were twittering ready to start feasting on all the ripe berries and fruit on the trees. A gentle breeze was rustling the leaves and Richard and Sheila Partridge were off to Paws in the Park, usually a very nice, relaxed show at the Hop Farm which is part of a large open-to-the-public Show. It had all the makings of a perfect day, but little did they know...

Our first run went well. It was a nice course. I remembered where I was supposed to go and Murph did the biz but, as usual, just a tad too slowly to make a significant impression in the trophies. I was probably musing on our run and the realisation that my poor old Twerphound who is eight years old poor old, is getting a bit long in the tooth to expect to get any more wins.

As I passed the Secretary's tent, I noticed a poster put there by Val Phillips of Valgray. She had a pretty little collie pup, 4 Ĺ months old looking for a home. Looked cute.  As fate would have it, one of the next people I saw was said Val had said pup, Alfie, in tow.

I know now that I should have nodded a greeting to Val and walked on, but no... I had to go over to her and say hello. By then, Alfie had decided to do the big sell on me. He jumped up, wagged his tail and laid on the doleful look in his eyes, you know, the ones you cannot resist. 

I carried for a while, half expecting that the pup would soon be offered a new home but secretly hoping he would not. He was something special. Half an hour later, I saw him again, still with Val. This time I had my long-suffering mem-sahib with me.  Alfie once again did his magic and succeeded in making us decide to take him home to join our pack.

In the six  weeks we've had him, Alfie has been a real joy. He has settled in, is house trained, mingles with the others well and is impressively well-behaved. We understand that he started life on a farm as a potential sheep dog but failed to make the grade. From his actions we guess his farmer owner did some initial training with him. He seems ready to listen and learn. 

We have now received Alfieís paperwork including his KC registration.  We are amused and delighted to see that Val took up our suggestion so his 'Sunday' name is Wats It All About of Valgary.

I have taken him to Club where he gets excited seeing all the activity, so hopefully we have a potential keen competitor on our hands, if only I can learn to do my bit and train him to do it, but that is in phase 2.

The only downside is that we have found out he was bred in Ireland! Horror of horrors, we have lumbered ourselves with another Infamous Irish Twerphound. And I thought the breed was extinct and I was safe.

If there is a moral to this story, it is that there is nothing worse than one Twerphound than two Twerphounds. Or maybe, If you are feeling a bit soft and see Val Philips, run quick in the opposite direction!

A Little Bit about Twerphounds

Irish Twerphounds are deservedly extremely rare and it would seem that they are always males. This phenomenon comes about because they are not bred in the conventional sense, but created. Legend has it that on certain days of the year among the Peat bogs of Ireland, the mist rising above the bogs contains a critical amount of  a special ozone. If a bolt of lightning strikes a particular ancient dead tree, another Twerphound emerges from the earth.

The breed was first recognized in the UK in 2005 at All About Dogs in Brentwood. One of the arena events was a Frisbee competition. Murphy, the original Twerphound, simply loves his Frisbee so entry was essential.  As we walked into the ring for the heat, the commentator - none other than Peter Purves - announced that the next competitor was Murphy. Looking at me, he enquired if he was a WSD. In a flash, I responded that he was in fact an Irish Twerphound.  This was duly broadcast over the PA and the myth was born.

It is rumoured that the original Twerphounds were brought from their native Ireland by the Navvies building the railways and canals. They were prized for their unique ability to be able to enter a completely strange town and locate by uncanny instinct the hostelries stocking Guinness and Caffrey's, a gift highly prized by their Irish owners.

From Val Philips...
Immediately upon seeing them that day, I knew that Richard and Sheila were softies so I decided to put a re-homing device on Alfie. I sprinkled them with dog nip so that every time they passed, Alfie would  put on his waggie tail act... and who could resist those dewy eyes?

It was a crazy day. Things were not going to plan. I had to be taken to first aid, not for being hit over the head by people who did not want a 'nice pup, looking for a home but due to an accident running my dog SKy. I had just got to jump no. 2 when I heard something snap in my knee. I had ruptured my RCL. The operationis on 18 November. Scarey.

Anyway, when I got back to the show I found out that the Partridge Family wanted to take Alfie home... and the rest is history.

Seriously, thanks to them both. He is a smashing pup.

Yes, we are dealing with so many Irish dogs now because they do not stand a chance in hell in Ireland. Four days and that's it. If they are not claimed or found a rescue space, sadly they are PTS. I am happy that we were able to save Alfie's life and I am sure we will see him jet propelled around the agility rings, miles ahead of Richard.  I am happy that I was able to find such a lovely home for him. (17/11/10)


Overheard at a show... 

Itís interesting that you have a Twerphound. We have got a BogDog.

Oi, Iíve got a bone to pick with you! I got halfway through reading your article about Twerphounds, finding it very interesting, before I realised it was a spoof!

About the author...
Richard Partridge has been enjoying (or enduring) agility for about eight years. Starting with a Papillon, he progressed to running the only confirmed Irish Twerphound in England.

He is a keen supporter of the International Mixed Breed Agility (IMCA) and Paragility World Cup (PAWC) and is UK contact for this event. He and  his wife, Sheila, attended their first international tournament in 2006 in Holland with the Twerphound and another Papillon, followed by a second competition in Italy in 2008 and a third this year in Switzerland.

In his spare time, Richard sits at his computer and composes complete garbage such as this for Agilitynet.


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