Our Jasper's Tale
Happy International Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Day!
Yes, there is such a thing as International Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Day – who knew?!
That makes today a good day to finally get around to writing about our elder dog Jasper (I missed both his birthday and the anniversary of the day we picked him up…).
When we started looking for a puppy we found out that by great luck, a breeder literally around the corner from us had a new litter. We registered our interest and said we were looking for a little girl puppy. Unfortunately by the time the breeder received our message, all the bitches had been spoken for, and there was just one pup left... So we fell for sweet little runty Jasper and decided to take him, despite his maleness.
He turned 8 years old a couple of months ago, and even though he’s already displaying some grumpy old man characteristics, it only takes a few minutes looking back through the early pictures to remember that he was a very cute puppy…
One thing you might notice here is Jasper’s ‘distinctive’ nose…
For a very long time his nose looked like someone had run out of black paint. We asked the breeder about his unfinished nose and was told ‘oh it should colour up fully in a few weeks’ (8 years later it’s still not 100% there…). Still, we’ll always be able to pick him out of a line-up.
Born to annoy
We found out after we got him that the breeder had referred to him as “the yappy, untrainable one”. Well, they were half-right. He wasn't that hard to train, but he always has something to say for himself, especially if you haven’t seem him for a while. I’m not sure if he’s telling us what’s happened in our absence, or giving us an earful for leaving him! At least he lets you know if anyone has the audacity to even look at the house as they walk past, so we should never get burgled.
We got Jasper when we found out that our first dog Tooty was suffering from cancer. Various people had advised us that bringing a new puppy into the house can give an older or poorly dog a new lease of life, something to focus on, take their mind off their deteriorating health. Well, this might work for some dogs.
But Tooty really didn’t like Jasper very much at all :-(
Now, part of that might have been down to his liking for climbing on top of her…
As it turned out, they only overlapped for a few months, and Jasper was soon allowed to be top (i.e. only) dog. Until Henry came along, of course.
More than any of our other dogs, Jasper was a Chewer. I can’t find photographic evidence but in a fairly short space of time he chewed (1) a skirting board end off, (2) a hole slap bang in the middle of a brand new carpet that had been laid that very day, and (3) a computer mains cable, while it was plugged in and switched on. He survived, obviously.
He celebrated his first Christmas with us by chewing through a carrier bag and eating a 6-inch tall solid chocolate Santa, foil and all, which necessitated a rapid trip to the vets for the doggy equivalent of a stomach pump. He learnt not to chew things quite so much not long after that.
Photogenic but photophobic
He’s a handsome chap, but he really doesn't like having his photo taken, which is a bit unfortunate as a pet photographer’s dog. He has one expression in almost every photo – sad-eyed and forlorn. My favourite photos of Jasper have been snatched candid moments.
Still, even though I’ve moaned about him a bit here – we wouldn't swap him for the world…
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