One of Andy's Rules for Life is that we never sell dogs at auctions (for reasons that I'm sure we've enumerated many times on the website)
Another rule is that we only ever buy dogs at auction if we already know them, and it's very rare that we do that (Eli's the only dog I can bring to mind at the moment). Rules are all very well, but one should never allow them to take the spontaneity out of life (has just become my new rule). The reason being that yesterday (Saturday) we went to watch a sheepdog auction. Andy wanted some general auction footage for the new DVD, and we were interested to see who's there and pick up some of the sheepdog gossip that we often miss out on, living in the Kings Green bubble.
Of course we weren't going to buy (although the catalogue (dogalogue?) listed a couple of young dogs that I wanted to see - for research purposes only, you understand) but I took some cash with me, in case of emergency.
The traffic was very slow, and the route winding and tedious, so we arrived much later than we'd intended: just in time to hear the hammer come down on the second of the two dogs I'd been interested to see "for research purposes". Still, I went to buy another catalogue, having left the first one on the desk at home, and while I was at the cashier's van I booked in a bidder's number. Just in case.
Well, I don't really feel involved unless I've got a bidder's number.
I should point out here that, when it comes to auctions, I've got form. Not sheepdogs, but sellers of damaged furniture, dodgy antiques, saddlery, carriages and carriage spares ("They'll come in for something" I'd say, as I loaded up the slightly abused pair of shafts that no-one else wanted, the box of assorted and corroded driving bits I hadn't looked into, or the single leaf spring that was so much like the ones on my ralli cart I couldn't risk leaving it) and those "bargain" clippers that never ever worked, have all benefited from my inability to keep my hands in my pockets when something looks like it's going cheap.
Standing at the side of the puppy auction pen, and heaving a sigh of relief as the bids for a very nice smooth-coated prick-eared youngster climbed out of my reach, I spotted an unkempt hearthrug at the other side of the pen, having its tummy scratched. I don't know about you, but when I'm looking for a good working dog, its enthusiasm for having its tummy scratched comes very high on my list of priorities. Then it stood up and shook itself, and I think I might have gasped. It was a beautiful (to me) deep red tricolour, with a black tricolour face. It was the next dog in the ring. I quickly found him in the catalogue, and he was listed as ISDS registered, and from two well connected and successful trialling dogs.
The red (as it were) mist descended, and the next few minutes are just a blur...
So, meet Roy - and what a lovely dog he seems to be (I know, it's early days yet). Roy travelled home sitting in the footwell of the car, his chin on my knee, for the entire journey home. For all my "just in case" provisions, I didn't pack a dog cage.
All the other dogs have accepted him without question - he's just that sort of dog. We let him run in the field with the others yesterday evening, and after politely greeting everyone in turn, and immediately striking up an alliance with Jim and Shirley, the three of them set off, led by Roy, into the sheep field where he promptly removed our very flighty newly delivered sheep from said field into the next field with our landlord's heifers. His performance was more enthusiastic than skilled, but at least he proved he isn't frightened of cattle.
Now, another Rule for Life is that we never let a dog loose within 2 hours of getting it home, and we always advise anyone who buys a dog from us to take the same approach. Some rules, it seems, really should be kept. There was no harm done, but I'm getting a bit old for all this spontaneity!