Death toll has been rising sharply at Shoogly Towers

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You may remember that at Shoogly Towers, we have three dugs. Two are rescue dogs and one was a freebie. Two big, one small.

Now, you might be forgiven for thinking that the two bigguns might be the most trouble.

True, the Big Brown Dog loves nothing better than flinging himself at the gate barking his doggy head off when horse-riders/cyclists/walkers/motorbikes go by.

So, to a certain degree and to certain passers-by, he is a pain in the bottom. Motorbike-filled bank holidays are his Nirvana.

The other big dog has his wee quirks, especially around food as he didn’t have the best start in life, but he’s a black lab and he does exactly what it says on the black lab tin – family dog, great with kids, keen to the point of obsession to retrieve things ... which can be quite wearing after a while. Even kids can get bored of it.

The bigguns may be a bit annoying at times. But compared to the small one, wee Jock the Patterdale, they are like lambs.

Wee Jocky boy is the cause of most of the trouble at Shoogly Towers.

He is the firestarter here.

And he kills a lot of stuff. But I guess that’s exactly what it says on the Patterdale tin.

Patterdales are not recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club (presumably because they come in so many different coat types and colours) and in my opinion, the breed is all the better for this.

Bred in their eponymous place of origin, Patterdales are a set of huge vampiric teeth with a dog attached to them. They are designed to kill stuff, originally foxes, but anything furry or feathery will do. Just the flash of a teddy’s paw as a child runs by with it is enough to send Jock into a killing frenzy.

Luckily we discovered tbis before he had grabbed a teddy and ripped it to pieces in front of a dumbstruck toddler. Not excatly a happy childhood memory in the making.

The YMs have always had to be careful with furry toys that moved, furry toys that beeped or squeaked, nay, things in general that squeak, and let’s be realistic, most small moving things.

Which of course means that we can never have a cat, and that no bird is safe, even on the bird table, as being very light in his loafers, Jock can stand on his back legs in a meerkat-stylee.

Anyhoo, back to Jocky boy and tbe trouble he causes. Remember our rescue chickens? Well, thanks to Jocky boy two of them have had a very short – but hopefully happy – new life of freedom.

Somehow, last week, one escaped and ended up by the house. Mr E was in the conservatory at the back, closest to the chicken run. He heard a muffled sqwawk and a puff of ginger feathers. Patterdale 1, rescue chooks 0.

No holes found in the fence, we put the unfortunate incident down to bad luck. Until a few nights later, the same thing happened again. To another rescue chicken. Gulp. We had to pick up what seemed like a ton of feathers once we had retrieved the poor chook from a very excited Jock. Patterdale 2, rescue chooks 0.

The remaining rescue chickens are now safely tucked away in a separate (covered) run. And last night Jock had to be content with murdering a rat.