Dog days are back

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Sir ran­ulph Fi­ennes took his Jack rus­sell, Bothie, to both Poles, Dame El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor won cus­tody of a beloved dog at the end of her eighth mar­riage, model Cara Delav­i­gne’s took her cross-breed Leo to Chanel’s show in Paris (although he wasn’t al­lowed to see the show) and Car­rie Fisher’s French bull­dog, Gary, ac­com­pa­nied her to last year’s pre­miere of Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens. Ed­ward Vll’s fox ter­rier Cae­sar took part in his funeral pro­ces­sion and the Egyp­tians deemed dogs es­sen­tial com­pan­ions for the af­ter­life. We don’t like to be far from our faith­ful four-legged friends, as Jonathan Self’s ar­ti­cle on their ubiq­ui­tous pres­ence in art con­firms ( page 48).

Dur­ing the com­ing weeks, dogs will be ev­ery­where, at game fairs, horse tri­als and agri­cul­tural shows, and so will the RSPCA, which, rightly, won’t hes­i­tate to shame own­ers who cru­elly leave their an­i­mals pant­ing in a hot car. There will be dogs stretch­ing their legs at mo­tor­way ser­vice sta­tions, in the grounds of his­toric houses and on beaches, and their own­ers will, it is hoped, be armed with the ubiq­ui­tous plas­tic bag, which they will then de­posit in the right place.

More and more vis­i­tor at­trac­tions, from Bat­tle Abbey to Lind­is­farne, are recog­nis­ing that visi­tors may be at­tached to dogs; her­itage rail­ways wel­come ca­nine pas­sen­gers (as long as they don’t sit on the seats) and even mu­se­ums and art gal­leries, such as New­lyn Art Gallery in Corn­wall and the Na­tional Cy­cle Mu­seum at Llan­drindod Wells in Powys, thought­fully al­low dogs a cul­tural fix.

Some es­tab­lish­ments go so far as to add that they only hope that own­ers are as well-be­haved as their pets— and this is the crux: this wel­com­ing spirit will only pre­vail as long as the hu­mans are as po­lite as their com­pan­ions.

Saved by the bar­beque

BACK in the 1950s, a group of ‘stub­born old men’ saved de­light­ful na­tive pig breeds such as the gin­gery Ox­ford Sandy and Black and the grin­ning Lop from ex­tinc­tion when the Gov­ern­ment was try­ing to re­duce the Bri­tish pig in all its charm­ing va­ri­eties to a stan­dard, fast- fat­ten­ing type. Now, we have more porcine va­ri­ety than any other western na­tion ( page 20).

But be­fore coo­ing over the cute pig­gies, we need to set about de­ter­minedly de­vour­ing as many of them as we can. The Sun­day roast (with a joint from your lo­cal butcher or farm shop) is the surest way of pre­serv­ing these valu­able genes, so why not buy a Berk­shire banger for the bar­beque tonight?

True Brit

Bri­tish dom­i­na­tion of the Tour de France has be­come an­other ex­pected sum­mer tra­di­tion and Chris Froome didn’t let us down. Un­ruf­fled by two crash­ing falls —‘i lost some skin, which wasn’t pleas­ant’—and hav­ing to run while await­ing a re­place­ment bike, he cruised up the Champs-elysées to a rap­tur­ous re­cep­tion.

Con­trast these scenes with the in­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee’s fee­ble re­sponse to the rus­sian dop­ing mess. An­other great sport­ing ex­trav­a­ganza starts next week and we can only hoped it will be marked by more of the spirit shown by Mr Froome.

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