IT’S been a while since the houndbloggers have checked in on the various puppies we know, so we thought we’d catch you up on how they’re doing: they’re doing great! With puppies, of course, the news is less important than what they look like, right? So we’ll cut to the chase, because we know what everyone really wants is the cute factor. And there is plenty of that to go around these days.
The newest Iroquois puppies are the SA litter born in August to young Driver–once a pupposauraus himself and now a pack member–and the great hunting lady Sage. Last time you saw them, they were mere beans compared to what they are now. Here they are then:
Now they’re just full of beans, as you can see:
The six SA puppies are doing well, kennel manager Michael Edwards tells us, and we’re still impressed by all the color they have on them.
For more on foxhound puppies, we turn to one of the houndbloggers’ favorite authors, D. W. E. Brock, and his book, The A B C of Fox-Hunting, although we disagree with his assertion that foxhound puppies, when newborn “are ugly, blind little things, with huge heads and wise, wrinkled faces.”
Easy there, Brock! He continues in a kinder vein. “But, after that, they become vastly more interesting little fellows,” he writes. “They grow quickly, but their heads always seem about two sizes too big for their bodies, and, unlike most other puppies, they seldom lose their solemn looks. …
“A foxhound puppy is one of the most amusing and lovable companions it is possible to imagine, and the games which a couple will play together are almost human in their ingenuity. But at the same time it is one of the most mischievous and destructive companions, and unless you, your family and your servants, both indoor and out, are genuinely fond of animals, and are long-suffering, you should not walk a puppy.”
Ah, yes. The houndbloggers and their house hounds nod knowingly at that advice, remembering the arrival of some of the HA puppies earlier this year. Harry, in particular, found the episode Rather Trying, he recalls (see lower left of photo):
The houndbloggers (who have no servants, indoors or outdoors) well remember their first day with us (of a very brief stay). I had had to attend a horse sale, and so Mr. Houndblogger bravely agreed to stay home and babysit the three HA puppies we’d taken in. I’ll never forget the scene when I returned: Mr. Houndblogger was slumped wearily in a chair in the kitchen, where he’d barricaded himself and the HA puppies to prevent further damage to the furniture and carpets. He was wearing wellies, a concession to the inevitable when you have a marauding trio of unhousetrained puppies on the loose. He was stippled from knees to collar with muddy pawprints, and one sweater cuff was slightly unraveled. It had been, I gathered, a Long Day.
The puppies, of course, bounded over to me merrily, eager for more games.
So what of the HA puppies today, nearing their first birthday? Take a look at them now.
They’ve started their walks out with huntsman Lilla Mason, and, my, how they’ve grown!
Whyte-Melville might have been looking at them when he wrote
On the straightest of legs and the roundest of feet,
With ribs like a frigate his timbers to meet,
With a fashion and fling and a form so complete,
that to see him dance over the flags is a treat.”
We haven’t yet seen these young hounds over the flags, but, more importantly, they float over the grass, Lilla reports.
As grown-up as they look, though, the HAs are still puppies at heart!
A few days ago, re-reading Beckford’s Thoughts on Hunting, we came across a curious footnote.
“I have seen fox-hounds that were bred out of a Newfoundland bitch and a fox-hound dog,” Beckford wrote. “They are monstrously ugly, are said to give their tongues sparingly, and to tire soon. The experiment has not succeeded: the cross most likely to be of service to a fox-hound is the beagle. I am well convinced that a handsome, bony, tender-nosed, stout beagle would, occasionally, be no improper cross for a high-bred pack of fox-hounds.”
Hmmm! No, no, we wouldn’t suggest it seriously, but, for the purposes of the blog at any rate the houndbloggers are very well disposed to include some beagles. And, as it happens, the beagles have been having their own puppies lately. The Clear Creek Beagles, with whom we hunt as often as we can on foot, have some puppies that whipper-in Jean MacLean was kind enough to photograph:
There are some older puppies, too, who show a French influence in their names. the C litter features Chauffeur:
… and our favorite names, Chien (dog) and Chaton (kitten)!
The Clear Creek Beagles started their informal hunt season this morning, and the Iroquois foxhounds will take to the hunt field in early October. And before long the puppies from both packs will be doing this …
… and this …
As always, the houndbloggers will do their best to keep up with the hounds and provide reports on their progress!