WHAT do you think is the biggest killer of poultry? Foxes? Avian ’flu? Wile E. Coyote? Nope. Round our way it’s Jock, the Patterdale terrier.
And Jock doesn’t just stick to chickens. His repertoire extends to all creatures sporting fur and feather. To date, he has been responsible for the demise of chickens, a turkey stag, countless baby birds (various species), a red-legged partridge which foolishly strayed into the garden, a rabbit having a nibble, and even a couple of Zhu-Zhu pets.
Jock was ‘free to a good home’, and came to us as an extremely cute, 12-week-old puppy.
He was smooth of coat and cute of eye, in a Disney way. Our existing dog (the Big Brown One) mingled quite happily – after a bit of familiarisation – with the (then) free-ranging hens. But not wee Jocky.
Even as a puppy, Jock had the killer instinct. An introduction led to him wildly chasing them about as fast as his little (at the time) legs could carry him, an evil glint in those Disney eyes, pin-sharp puppy teeth snapping. It was a short introduction.
Needless to say, subsequent attempts to help Jock befriend the chooks similarly failed. They had feathers and moved – they deserved to die. Small children running with teddies would find Jock clamped to a foot. Of the bear, I hasten to add.
So fences were erected and the chooks are now protected by around 6 feet of wire and a double-gate entry system. He likes to fling himself at the boundary wall when other dogs pass by on innocent walks with their owners. So the fencing was extended right around our boundary. With flat, wired baffles on the top like the ones you have at zoos to stop lions jumping out. Our very own Whipsnade.
The Young Mistress’s Zhu-Zhu pets are a favourite. If he breaks into the conservatory where the toys are kept, he goes on a fake fur rampage. Zhu-Zhu pets move erratically and take a long time to ‘kill’. Perfect for Patterdales.
But size isn’t a problem for Jocky Boy. The aforementioned turkey stag was caught during a fence ambush, when Jock sprang up and nabbed its wing tip through the wire. He then proceeded to try and drag it through in order to consume it. Quite ambitious, as he is the size of a Parson Russell terrier and the turkey was 22lbs.
So our charming pup grew up and grew long legs, a hairy coat with a Mohican up his back and a wispy beard. Best of all, long, wispy white eyebrows which (in conjunction with the beard) make him look a little like Fu Manchu.
But best of all are the teeth. The huuuuuuge teeth. He’s the Ken Dodd of canines. It looks like they came first – and the dog was arranged around them as an afterthought.