Poppy’s continuing health concerns have left me no choice but to inform the organisers of all the 2014 gundog demonstration venues that we will not, in all probability, be able to appear this year.
March is the next assessment date for Poppy’s ongoing condition, by which time it will have become clear whether or not she can continue.
In the meantime, I continue to take her training (with veterinary approval). But she just lies down and sleeps whenever at home. Particularly disappointing was the need to turn down repeated requests from the BBC for us to take part in a dog skills competition to be screened soon on BBC2. Shame, as I know she would have been a real star.
Daisy and I start the Kennel Club’s Working Gundog Certificate 6 week Platinum course at Mullenscote’s on 11 Jan. So, while Pops slumbers, I’ll be pushing Daisy quite hard on a course that is normally open only to those dogs who have passed the Bronze, Silver and Gold courses (which Daisy hasn’t). I’m hoping that not only will my training be able to compensate for her relative lack of experience compared to the other dogs, but that the pressure of the course won’t be too much for Daisy’s natural “puppyness”. But Howard Kirby, the best gundog trainer in the country and the man running the course, thinks she’ll cope easily, so fingers crossed.
But my main focus now is to ensure the well being and recovery of my little Pops.