From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Scamp - A Life lived on the Edge

We always said Scamp was part cat.  She had cat-like independence – she was not an overly affectionate dog.  She rarely gave kisses.  She was never 100% comfortable sitting on a lap – she’d hop down after a few minutes like an embarrassed teenager who's been hugged in front of their friends.  She had (at least) nine lives – in fact the way she hung on to life at the end speaks volumes.

She came into our lives on a wet and dreary October day in 1993.  One of the girls had a “back to school” bug, so I had to make a trip to Wilton Shopping Centre for a prescription.  As I was hurrying back to the car through the rain, I noticed two women standing holding two really cute puppies.  I got talking to them, and was shocked to hear that they’d found them running around the car park, and had picked them up so they wouldn’t get run over.  They’d spoken to the centre’s security guard, who said it was a fairly regular occurrence to have dogs dumped at the centre, and the local pound had been informed.  At this, I blurted out “You can’t let them go to the pound, I’ll take them home!” and so I arrived home fifteen minutes later, with two flea-ridden wormbags in the boot of the car, thinking “George is going to KILL me!”
Thankfully I was wrong, I am still alive! and Scruffy and Scamp became the first occupants of our new stable block.  Our farrier gave Scruffy a home, but Scampy was ours for keeps.

She never walked anywhere, she always scampered!  Her tail didn't wag, it rotated like a propeller as she ran along and it never stopped. She always made me smile with her joie de vivre, but she was naughty! Let her out for a wee, and she’d be gone for hours.  You could call till you were blue in the face, but she’d come back when it suited her, usually plastered in mud from head to toe.

She was a hunter through and through, and helped keep our yard clear of rats and mice for years, as well as helping keep the surrounding fields clear of rabbits!  Her love of the chase got her into trouble - she was caught in fox-traps twice.  The second time was one of her closest brushes with death.  She had followed Denis out on a hack, but detoured into a hedge to go hunting and didn't return home with him.  Not unusual, she’d usually make her way home within an hour or two.
This time, though, she still hadn't returned by evening time, and Denis concluded that she was caught somewhere.  We were away, but our good friends and neighbours mounted a search for her, and eventually found her caught in an ILLEGAL fox-trap in the middle of a field of cabbages.  It was winter time and a hard frost had set in - if she'd been left overnight she wouldn't have survived.  Our friend Sharon had insisted on keeping the search going, and undoubtedly saved her life.

She chased cars, especially our neighbour’s diesel car.  Of course she ended up being run over.  Down to the vets, broken leg.  Home again in a cast for a while, then back to normal life, hunting rabbits in the fields with our other dogs, chasing mice in the haybarn.

She loved water, and would spend ages splashing around in the nearby stream.  In the summer, she’d go for a paddle in the horses’ trough to cool down – that was back when summers were warm, remember? She nearly drowned early on in life – she went for a swim in an open drain at the bottom of our arena and couldn’t get out again.  Audrey, one of my teenage “helpers” arrived at the back door, dripping wet, with a soggy bedraggled Scamp in her arms – she’d seen her going under and had jumped straight in to fish her out!  It didn’t put Scamp off water though, she still loved to go for her swim. 

She loved to follow the horses out hacking, which I hated - I just don't think it's safe to have a bunch of horses plus a dog out on the road together.  I’d send her home if she followed me.  She’d go back as far as our gate, then cut across a couple of fields and join us about a mile from home, where it was too far to send her back.  Eventually she got really smart - she’d head off ahead of us, before we even mounted up, and wait in a ditch.  Once we'd passed, she'd sneak along behind us, until she knew she’d been spotted, than she’d come right up and join us. 
She once chased a rabbit across the road and right under my horse’s legs – first the rabbit, then a split second later, the dog.  The horse didn’t have time to react, it all happened so fast!

I think she must have been very rude to the local dogs – they all hated her.  She arrived home badly bitten many times.  Lots of emergency runs to the vet for stitches in her stomach, throat and back, all on different occasions.  I think he thought I was involved in badger baiting or dog fighting for a while – seriously! Me! That guy didn’t know me too well!

She was a thief and a scrounger.  New livery clients quickly learned not to leave carrots anywhere within Scamp’s reach.  She was a comical sight tiptoeing across the yard, trying to look innocent, with a great big carrot sticking out of her mouth.
She regularly raided the feedbowls of all the local cats and dogs and she would frequently turn up with something more interesting – loaves of bread, chicken carcasses, scones…. 
For most of her life, she waited every morning in the corner of our field until she heard our neighbour Frank opening his shed door as he started his morning chores.  As soon as he opened the door, she’d be at his feet, tail wagging expectantly, and he’d give her a chunk of bread.  From the time we realized she was going blind, we no longer allowed her offleash, but Frank always had a little treat for her when we passed.

We thought we were nearing the end about two years ago – she had repeated tummy problems, which invariably involved a lot of floor washing.  I would try the usual treatment – withhold food for 24 – 48 hours, and then start back on boiled chicken and rice, but most of the time this failed to solve the problem, and she’d end up in our Vet’s, on a drip overnight and then on antibiotics.   The last time this happened, I really thought we’d lose her, and I think she thought her time was up too.  I’ve never seen her so pleased to see anyone as she was to see me the day I went in to pick her up – she leaped straight up onto my knee, cuddled into me, and even gave my face a little lick – totally non-Scamp behaviour!
Stinky and all as she was, I didn’t mind.  I was just delighted to be taking her home.
We started her on a new medication (Antepsin) after that, and I can honestly say it extended her life by two years.  She had one or two minor bouts, but never again was it so bad that we thought “This is it”.

Her end came slowly, gradually, almost imperceptibly.  Her cheery nature masked the fact that she couldn't see or hear too well, and she tried hard to keep bouncing around, despite her weakening legs.  Eventually we all agreed that the time had come and she needed help on her way.  Our vet kindly came out and euthanized her at home, George’s arms around her, me rubbing her little head.

She wasn’t the prettiest dog ever.  She definitely wasn’t the best behaved dog ever.  But her cheeky face and propeller tail made me smile pretty much every day for eighteen years.

She's resting under the tree in the corner of the field where she used to sit waiting for Frank every morning.  

Thanks for the memories, lil’ ratbag.


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