by Anne M. Fletcher
I never liked Bull
Terriers – as far as I was concerned they were vicious, untrustworthy dogs
with malice in their eyes. My husband, on the other hand, grew up with
them and loved them. He had always said that one day he would like to have
one of his own again. I withstood this vehemently for years. Then
one day he told me of a breeder who had puppies for sale and said that he and
his father were “going to have a look” because “his dad might want to get
one”. That was fine by me. That evening they returned and my
daughter walked through the door with a puppy in her arms. I thought it
was my father-in-law’s new puppy, but no, that was his car leaving our
driveway. My husband with sheepish grin walked in and admitted that he had
been unable to resist this little red bundle and went into a sales pitch second
to none regarding the pedigree of both parents and the nature of the mother,
etc, etc. I was not impressed. However, I took the fat little
fur ball in my hands and looked in her face and said, “Well, if you’re going
to stay we’d better at least learn to get along with each other.” I
got my nose nipped in reply. Well we played with her for a couple of hours and I
had to admit her roly-poly cuteness was quite appealing, but she was determined
to sink her teeth into flesh at every opportunity.
The days and weeks
went past and we bought Blaze (so named for the white blaze down her forehead
and nose) several chew toys and tried to discourage her habit of chewing
everything in sight including people (she particularly liked toes). She
was growing into a beautiful young dog and had crept into my heart in a big way.
She had developed the habit, having finished her food, of seeking out the cat
and wiping her mouth on him so that his fur stuck up all over in a most untidy,
uncatlike manner. She would then look for me and come for a cuddle and
fall asleep in my arms like a baby. She was undeniably my husband’s dog
though – he got greeted first, followed, fawned on and generally worshipped.
It was my shoes that were chewed, my teddies that were pulled from the bed and disemboweled…
my efforts at gardening that were ripped up and shredded. It was a test of
dominance and I had to put my foot down firmly. Fortunately she outgrew
the need to dominate me by destroying everything my hands touched.
Blaze has always
been an enthusiastic greeter and nothing can convince her that she is not in
fact a Maltese Poodle but a full 35kg of muscle and most people don’t
appreciate a Bull Terrier of such description launching herself fervently and
excitedly at them when they arrive for a visit. Nothing we have done in
the way of training seems to have worked to deter her, so the best we can do is
assure our guests beforehand is that she means no harm. They can ward off
the worst of the attack with a well-placed knee and the injunction that they
should greet Blaze because she expects it and will, pardon the pun, hound them,
until they do. She usually settles down once she has displayed a round of
excited yapping, inspection, spinning and attempted lap climbing (I told you –
she thinks she’s a Maltese). She will then proceed to bring her toys to
show off and expect a game or two of tug-of-war with any willing takers.
She honestly sees herself as part of the human family. I have heard
someone describe the Bull Terrier as “a 3 year old in a dog suit” and it
Blaze loves to walk
and will sit and mumble and groan at us until we put on our walking shoes at
which she gets highly excited and runs into the kitchen to the cupboard where
her harness is kept and wriggles and writhes until we put it on her. She
has a place to sleep and a bed of her own, but 9 times out of 10 she will come
and lie in our bedroom with her head on one of the discarded scatter cushions
where she will happily snore the night away close to her people – well, close
to my husband really.
She has never hurt a soul, adult or child and yet I know she would give her life to protect us if it came to that. She has a hugely loving nature and is everything good that there is about Bullies. We love her dearly and hate to think of the day when she won’t be with us anymore because she’s a one in a million pup and we’ll be hard put to find another dog to come close to our Blaze-girl.