Builders in the house

I had always wanted a dog that could bark on command. Old Tudor was already a year old when he joined us and he only ever refused to do two things:

  • He would not go anywhere near water - sudden brain waves excluded.
  • He would only bark when he felt like it.
I tried endlessly to change his mind, but finally had to admit defeat on both counts. When young Tudor came to us as a pup I started to train him as soon as he was old enough. He became the fastest swimming Border Collie I have ever seen and when I said: "Bark", he would bark - in a piercingly loud and hysterical manner. What the old boy had never learned, the young one grasped within thirty minutes. I would say: "What do you think of it so far?" and Tudor would answer: "Rough, Rough, Yaiks". I'm sure you get the picture.

One fine day we decided to knock two adjacent rooms to bits in order to get one big sitting room. For nearly two weeks the place was full of three rather nice builders, pelmets, dust, girders - the usual mess. Tudor loved it, but started to develop signs of advanced hysteria. Every time we touched his rear in a friendly and loving manner, he would yell, tuck his arse in and jump. He would turn in mid-air and land facing us, an insulted look on his wee face.

This habit baffled us, until we once secretly observed one of the builders walking past the dog. He bent down, tweaked his tail and went "Sqwwkkksss". The poor animal went through the performance described above and the builder went back to his wheel barrow, laughing his silly big head off.

When the job was finished we invited all the men in for a few drinks: The Official Opening of the New Sitting Room. We talked about various things, but often about the pup. (In Ulster every dog is a pup, age doesn't come into it). When I told them that Tudor could talk they insisted on a demonstration, which gave Tudor the chance to give the performance of his life. I looked him in the eyes - which meant: something is going to happen and asked in a quiet, calm voice: "Tudor, what do you think of the weather?".

The dog looked at me, turned and glanced inquisitively out of the window into the cold, rainy, storm-tossed day, turned back and said in a most authoritative manner:


The dumbfounded expressions in the faces of the builders must have made up for an awful lot of arse-tweaking!


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Tudor with sign
The big bite

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