After nearly as much research as we put into the caravan, we decided that the Cavapoo was the breed for us. They are small dogs, who combine the intelligence, loyalty and playfulness of the poodle with the affection and calmness of the Cavalier. They don’t moult and according to the breeders, “will take as much exercise as you can throw at them.”
So here is an introduction to the Fab Four;
Kai – The Lincoln Imp
Our first born, from Laughterton in Lincolnshire. He certainly puts a smile on our faces! Kai is the Hawai’ian word for the ocean, eminently suitable as a canine companion for compulsive, obsessive windsurfers. Kai is a thinker; a sweet and sensitive boy. We maintain that he is not a dog, he is human. This gives him the perfect personality for his voluntary role as a Caring Canine, bringing puppy love to the residents of a Care Home. His gentle nature showed early. When we were comforting a friend who was upset, Kai spontaneously brought a little heart-shaped biscuit, pushed it carefully on to her thigh and looked tenderly up at her. There was not a dry eye in the house! Kai’s coat is that of a tyke and he is prone to spectacular bed-head. Not surprising as he loves his bed and is a bit of a grumblebum in the morning, or in fact, anytime that you wake him up. He approaches each new day with the bewildered look of an earthquake victim being pulled from the rubble. All that is missing is the brick dust in his coat. Kai definitely embodies the saying that you should let sleeping dogs lie.
Rosie – Our Little Chorley Cake
Rosie epitomises the spirit of The Boddington’s Girl or Cheryl Cole. Beautiful, intelligent, but very much in touch with her Northern roots. She can burp and snore with the best of them and is a cool surf dog, always up for new experiences. She was named partly for the red rose of Lancashire, her (and my) home county and partly for the AC/DC song ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ for her size and personality. We thought she was a bit of a porker when we got her, but realised that we were doing her a disservice, since she was crossed with a miniature poodle, rather than a toy poodle like the others. She is not averse to real ale, but her favourite drinks are wine, champagne* and muddy puddle water. She is full of exuberance and will do anything for a treat. If she escapes, which she does frequently because she is ‘Nosy Rosie’, she answers to “Rosie”, “Rosie Poo” or even just “Poo”. But only if it suits her!
*I stress that we do not give alcohol to Rosie; alcohol is poisonous to dogs, but she sees it as fair game to help herself to an unguarded glass, flute or tankard!
We were getting two puppies to keep each other company. Well, the breeder in Chorley had a litter of red puppies and Mark fell in love. “Three dogs is madness!” I maintained, for approximately 2 days. On the 3rd day, I awoke enlightened and decreed that we should get the red puppy. “If you have one dog, you have a commitment. 2 dogs, 3 dogs, what’s the difference?” I rationalised. And she was ever so cute. And Mark’s mum, Ruby Joyce, very kindly said that if we wanted her, she would buy the puppy for us. So Mark drove to Chorley and back for the second time in a week and Beautiful Princess Ruby Booby came into our lives.
Ruby is our angel of the morning. She greets each new day with a vigorously wagging tail, a cheery song and the best hugs. She is a happy soul, who even wags her tail in her sleep! She is a proper princess. She would definitely detect a pea under 20 mattresses; she squeals and jumps up frantically to demand the immediate removal of the tiniest of leaves or invisible blades of grass which may have touched her fur. She never comes to get her own treat, knowing that good things come to she who waits. She just about tolerates the fact that the treats not presented on a silver platter. Her job is running around and sniffing the shoreline, chasing tiny sand flies. She takes it very seriously. Do anything she doesn’t like and she wanders off in a huff, particularly if you try and groom her, but she gets lonely quite quickly. She sits to attention, looks you straight in the eye and issues a short, sharp “buff” to let you know that she is ready for you to go over, collect her and lavish her with love!
Lovely Licky Lani Lulu
I was by now well on the way to becoming that mad old woman in a dressing gown with about 50 dogs. (When women of a certain age start to collect dogs, it is a recognised medical condition known as the ‘Many Paws’.)
I knew the fourth pup was inevitable because Mark was still looking at puppies on the internet. I had no objection to adding to the pack. 3 just didn’t seem like the right number anyway. We decided that we needed one for each hand. Mark drove to Bury St Edmunds to bring back a small, black bundle of fluff with a little white chin. He rang several times en route home “You know how cute she looked in the pictures? She is even MORE cute than that!”
As soon as we met, she crawled straight onto my lap, licked my nose and curled up. It was love and we called her Lani, the Hawai’ian word for ‘heaven’ or ‘the sky.’ Despite her ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ looks, Lani is a minx! She LOVES Rosie, dangling off Rosie’s beard and assaulting her regularly with the bionic tongue, much to Rosie’s mild annoyance (mild annoyance is as cross as Rosie ever gets!) She deploys frequent stealth attacks on Ruby, even while Ruby is really busy doing her job and if you’re ever looking for that pair of socks or your undies, Lani will be diligently shredding them for you. She instinctively KNOWS that humans prefer lots of fang holes in their pants.
Lani is a pocket rocket who never tires. She goes everywhere at full throttle like Billy Whizz and while the other pups sleep, she remains wide awake and constantly monitors what is going on through the windows. She is prone to long-term disappearing acts in search of ducks or squirrels; it is all about the thrill of the chase. She is a roller, so however often we wash her, my dog halo (she sleeps curled around my head!) is frequently suffused with a faint aura of dung. She pretends that she is not very bright to get away with stuff, but has a few tricks up her sleeve. For example, she knows that a quick bark from a distance gets everyone off the sofa so that she can wander back to pick her preferred spot at leisure. She has recently transferred this skill to the manipulation of humans. She scratches at the door, pretending that she needs to go out in the middle of the night. When I blearily switch on the light and start to dress, she is straight back on the bed and curled up tight, right in the middle of my pillow!
Francoise, a French lady whom we met on our first trip had Lani taped. She told us that Lani is “La plus terrible!”