Alice’s Legend

Whilst there are many rumours as to the origins of the canine species, there is one story that purports to have been handed down over the generations direct from the Great Kennel.  This is that puppies are fashioned now, as they have been since the beginning of time, by the Big Dog himself … (see ‘How dogs are made and George got his looks’


It was, once again, a Friday afternoon and late, much too late.  The Big Dog was feeling under some pressure for one of the litters that was due to be delivered in the morning was still not complete, there was one more pup to be formed and nothing left to make it with.

Oh how he disliked being short of parts.  He was usually meticulous over his ordering and had been certain there would be plenty.  It was many, many years since he had been caught out in such a way.  Thinking back, it must be at least thirteen, yes, that was it, thirteen.   He wondered idly if there was any significance in the number.

Casting these thoughts aside he started to search the deepest darkest reaches of the Great Kennel’s store cupboards.  His diligence was rewarded when, eventually, he came across a tiny head.  It must have been left over from one of the many batches of Teacup Jacks that were currently so popular

Further searching resulted in four long, slender legs, too long really for a Jack Russell, and the hind ones appeared slightly longer than the front, but maybe no-one would notice.  More digging and a somewhat sparse tail, with an extreme curl, suggesting that it might have been destined for a Spitz or some such breed was unearthed.  He seemed to remember rejecting it previously on grounds of its sparseness.  Eventually, all he needed was a fur coat to put round the pup’s body.  He sat down and scratched his head for a moment, then something stirred in his memory; a few minutes later he was looking gloomily at a rather woolly looking piece of fabric.  He thought that maybe his friend Orion had ordered it to make some slippers, but it would have to do.  He fashioned it round the little pup and sat back to look at his handiwork.

Not too bad he mused, considering the difficulties, but the other pups in the batch all had tan markings.  He grabbed his paintbrush in his teeth, dipped it in the pot of light brown paint and slapped a blob at the base of the tail, another on the side and, with greater delicacy of touch, a patch on the little one’s face and ears’.  He had to admit that she (for that was what he had decided this pup would be) did look very cute.

He gently placed the tiny, leggy, scrap down by the fire to let the paint dry before she was added to the bag for delivery.  It was just unfortunate that a few minutes later a strong puff of wind blew some smoke back down the chimney and with it a scattering of soot which peppered the pup.  On seeing what had happened the Big Dog rushed across to the fireplace, snatched her up and blew the dark dust off the coat but, where the paint hadn’t quite dried, it stuck and efforts to clean it with his large, wet tongue, so far from removing, it turned it streaky.  Unfortunate in the extreme, as no Jack Russell should ever have brindled markings.  On the other hand there were so many other features that wouldn’t meet the funny thing that humans called ‘breed standard’ it was perhaps, after all no great matter for concern.

With an exhausted sigh, he tucked the now complete pup away with the others for delivery first thing the following morning.