I was looking back over old posts from last year with pictures of my lovely Heston and it’s amazing how much he’s both grown and developed (or not!) He was such a little puppy when I first got him.
This was the photo that made Verity and I fall in love with our boys. I’d like to remind everyone that V asked for the runty one. She likes runts. I’m not sure what that says about her strapping husband. Perhaps his brother is a giant.
And on the first day, he could sleep under the couch with his little feet and his puppy ears. He slept most of the day and played the rest of it. He even played with Tilly, which doesn’t happen so much these days.
He could fit on the couch with my little American cocker, no problem.
And he had a love for his brother that I think only brothers can really share, where you’re the same kind of size as each other and you can play hard, knowing each other’s limits. They only fell out one time and even straight after, they were friends.
We had all kinds of speculation about how big they’d end up, and whether their ears would stand or not. Heston’s sometimes do, and they always do when carried by the wind.
He has the same collar, on the biggest setting. It was on the smallest setting here. And the biggest surprise was how feathered their tails got. Here, it’s just a normal dog tail. He looks so little with his baby fur and his big body and little head. He was about 12 weeks old in the photo below.
I can’t even really remember his tail feathering out – or when he started to get his big dog coat. The photo below is Heston’s first off-road experience in September, and his tail is starting to fill out. Definitely not labrador as the vet first thought. And probably a lot of border collie. Still looks more like a miniature Groenendaele crossed with a miniature flat-haired retriever as well. It’s like someone thought ‘Let’s take the three most energetic dog breeds we can find and make an unruly mixture of them.’ And this is what we got. He definitely does the collie headtilt in a ‘what you talkin’ bout Willis’ kind of a way.
This was the first off-lead experience and Heston realised that he LOVED water. Not only that, doesn’t bat an eyelid when there’s gunshots right up close. Cyclists coming past the house, well they just might steal from my dead corpse the amount Heston barks, but gunshot, well, that’s just the sound of the forest.
By the end of the year, Heston has full-on feather tail and reached 18 kilos. He’s one heavy dog. He’s now 24. He is a beast. He likes to jump on top of me at 6.45am and this is how I know his weight.
His favourite things, in no particular order, are: puddles, rivers, lakes, snow, digging, burying balls, barking at cyclists, eating tomatoes, chasing chickens, getting up at precisely 6.45am, sleeping under the bed, going on car journeys, his lead, his rope, his selection of popped footballs, chasing the lawnmower and trying to play with it, visitors who’ve been here for more than two days.
He is not a fan of men, tall men, very tall men, men who he forgets, the breton spaniels up the road, rainy non-walk days, peppers, apples and walking to heel. It is hard when you are a bouncy dog with a slow owner.
He is also not a fan of lie-ins.
He is a very energetic dog and sometimes this drives me to despair. He also has learned to bark at every dog he meets, simply because we must walk past 20 houses where that’s what the dogs do. It’s sad. He is generally very good when he meets new dogs though if Tilly barks, he barks. She’s definitely boss.
And he still loves to play all day. He just can’t fit under the couch any more. God love the Heston. He is a funny, crazy, bouncy creature. I just wish he would bark less at people. I sense this may take some time in the unlearning. I also wish the following things weren’t prompts for Heston thinking we are going on a walk: me putting my socks on; me putting flip-flops on; me even looking at my boots; me picking up my keys; 8pm. 7am. Do a thing twice and it becomes a signal to my funny boy. Bless him!