18 December 2023

Poppy Who?

October has always been a month I enjoy. Autumn starting to kick in and the animals growing out their winter coats and getting fluffier by the day. I took the camera along on this gorgeous Sunday morning.

We said hello to the new neighbours.

Jess jumped up here herself. She's always on the lookout for photo opportunities.

Poppy continued to be a mystery. Her personality was playful and sweet, and we knew she was cute, of course, but the question on everyone's lips was: what sort of dog was she? There were a range of suggestions, from German Shepherd to terrier to spaniel mix. Everyone sort of agreed upon Border Collie being in there. I thought she was a Lurcher - a Greyhound/Border Collie mix - which would explain her ears, head shape and lankiness. At the Belfast Dog Show I asked around and showed her picture and a lot of people agreed with my guess. Even Poppy's new vet, who'd given her her first vaccination, thought she was a Greyhound mix. But then she had the audacity to look sort of like a terrier sometimes!

I eventually opted to get her DNA tested, and while we waited for those results, life went on...

Poppy really loved her aunties.

She wandered ahead, went through a gate, and then forgot the gate was there. She thought she was stuck behind this fence forever.

All of my dogs know "stay" - it's a very useful command if you like taking photos! I don't rush these things, though, so Poppy took a long time to understand what I was asking her to do. She also liked to jump up these steps and sit for strokes.

If I was lucky, I'd get a few photos before she came back down.

I'm particularly pleased with these two portraits.

And here they are in black and white, because I can't decide!

I was anxious for Poppy to get her second vaccination so we could start to work on socialising properly. Our first walk was with my friend Charlotte and one of her dogs, Izzy. At home we had all been commenting on how big Poppy was growing, but seeing her next to lovely Izzy put things in perspective, that was for sure.

Izzy wanders off.

We had such a lovely time walking along the promenade.

Charlotte and I agreed that there could be some Labrador in Poppy - her paws were very chunky.

It was a beautiful October day by the sea.

The following day we were out again - this time for a more secluded walk.

We walked by this disused linen mill.

And it was in this courtyard that Poppy finally got it - she's staying here! I was very happy with her.
I checked it wasn't a fluke further along on our walk but no - she was staying!

I immediately had to put this new skill to the test. Poppy, it turns out, can be very patient when there is a promise of a treat at the end. I got her up on the garden wall to get her photo taken with the Guernsey lilies which were in full bloom.

Another evening we were in the field, although the combination of long grass and short stature was a bit problematic.

Back on the garden wall, and this time the lighting was perfect for the lilies and those fluffy ears.

On the day we got Poppy's DNA results, we went to check on the sheep at Ballyhafry.

We also went out for a coffee/puppucino and bumped into a man who correctly guessed one of Poppy's breeds - although I didn't know he was right until I returned home and checked my emails. Another odd coincidence is that Poppy's ears had flopped down overnight - she looked very different!

So here she is - my guess at the time was a Greyhound/Border Collie/Labrador mix - and I wouldn't have been surprised if there was a larger collection of breeds here, but to my surprise it was very straightforward.

It felt nice to have one of Poppy's mysteries solved, at least!

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