Earlier this year I took a policy decision to recruit an apprentice, both to help with my workload and to help control my management team. I spoke to some contacts at my gundog club and soon learnt of a litter only 10 miles or so down the road. I’d drunk a few quiet beers (followed, of course, by more than a few noisy ones) with the sire, FTW Gamborough Balthasar of Willowyck although I find that rather a mouthful (especially after a few beers) and I know him as Barny.
The plan is for me to become a peg dog for the Boss, and my apprentice becomes a peg dog for the Deputy Boss.
So, emails were exchanged, and I ushered my management team into the team vehicle and off we went to meet the dam. I knew the dam from my gundog club, although I hadn’t, err, worked with her. I’ve also met her mum too. Both are lovely ladies. I’d like to work with them in the future. I really would.
It was a well organised set up that centred around, ironically, a building that used to be a pub. As we all know, pubs used to brew their own beer. My apprentice could not, therefore, have had a better introduction to life than being born in a former brewery.
A stable had been converted in a whelping box, complete with thermostatically controlled heating, remote controlled lightning and Radio 4 on the wireless. It couldn’t have been better.
I first met my apprentice when he was only three weeks old. I was lucky and was given the pick of the litter. However, the selection of the apprentice was easy. He was the lad who started chewing the Deputy Boss’ fingers and then, err, relieved himself on the Boss. I knew at this moment that he would be perfect. The breeder kindly marked his paw with some special paint so that he could be identified easily.
The Boss had already had the pedigree of the litter thoroughly checked by a local expert who compared the breeding against his database. The expert believed that the breeding was something really special and that the breeder didn’t actually realise what a great litter they were producing. The expert also advised that the Boss and DB shouldn’t share this fact with the breeder.
A few weeks later I returned for a second visit. My apprentice, now christened Rural, was in great form. He was happy to punch his siblings and steal their food.