Oddly enough, in a strange kind of way, we’ve received a number of comments about Duncan both from those who have read the story for the first time and others who suddenly think in a bubble thinking kind of way – “I wonder how Duncan is doing”?

Well Duncan is now 3 years old and after the first twelve months of his life it was, as a number of you know, all about the vet, operations and physiotherapy and recuperation following our decision to keep him and give him a chance in life. And that chance he took – BIG time

As is the norm in our household Duncan has fitted in well to the dysfunctional way we live and get on with life. He has developed his own personality and style and too be honest is today a wonderful pet and good fun to be around.

He is very loyal, has excellent obedience and he stays and plays in and around the house and land. When we let him out with the others Duncan is the one you can guarantee will be close by if you’re out and about around the place.

He is strong, very healthy and unfortunately for me he is also very fit and is a ball fetcher only second to JJ.

Now don’t get me wrong, he’s no angel and has got me into trouble a couple of times (a week) and he has certainly become the partner in crime to that French nutter Claude. And in fact those two got me into a heap of trouble only a couple of weeks ago. But more of that later!!

He’s a big dog now and the issues he faced early on have not stunted his growth in the least, if anything, he seems to have grasped that he’s a lucky boy and makes every day worth his while.

He seems motivated to get the most out of life and especially the runs down onto the beach. He challenges himself more than us. Duncan is the ultimate in proof that there is life after the facts.

I have to say that for us as his owners; even we had our doubts at the time about whether we were doing the right thing and indeed not what you might think? Our concerns were more to do with the question of his quality of life after the operations and issues and decisions we would face throughout his recovery period.

But we missed a trick in our thinking??

We had not allowed for Duncan himself and his determination to make good for himself.

It surprised us, it surprised everyone

Duncan NEVER once gave in

Today we are rewarded with a fun loving lunatic that fits in well with us!! Our own determination to give him a chance has been rewarded tenfold.

And for your delectation and delight!! Here is a brief update on Duncan’s life story……….

Once upon a time there was a little puppy called Duncan………..SIGH…….Ahhhhhhhhhh

Duncan had a poorly leg and a nice vet mended it for him over a long period of many months.

This vet is a hero……Hoorah

The above shows Duncan in the early days of both physiotherapy and his recuperation with a balance of the adventurous without letting him push it too far.

The bindings on his legs were for strengthening areas that would ultimately give him freedom of movement.

He has a slight limp today but you would struggle to notice it and you can’t see it when he runs.

And Duncan runs everywhere!! Whether he’s proving a point we’ll never know but energetic he is!! And I know…………

But the picture also illustrates that he is in every way normal (Except his brain, which developed like those around him – dysfunctional)

He spent many months in this state and the dressings were maintained as he was growing and maturing but slowly got less and less as the strength in his legs increased. Eventually when they were removed completely he was a free man……

I am not a number, I am a free man – sorry, minor digression. Anyone watch ‘The Prisoner’ – brilliant series. I loved it

Anyway, there had always been a part of Duncan with a ‘can do’ attitude and he went on and ‘did do’ – especially when we went out.

From a Disabled Duncan to a Duncan who would be first into the Landy – and he jumped in!!

Originally he knew the Landy meant VET. At that point he didn’t jump in and had to be put in!!

Once those dressings came off, all that changed and he realised that the Landy meant fun. It was his passage to the beach, and oh boy does he love the beach……..

Sticks and stones and tennis balls, in or out of the sea, across the river where we walk to and nothing would stop the march of a Duncan driven by a desire not to be beaten or to be second.

His competitive nature to be first at the pick-up is still amazing today. Now don’t get wrong he’s not the fastest of the gang, but he is consistent and when the others give in…..then Duncan becomes Mr Reliable.

The beach is Duncan’s Turf

We went through some nerve racking moments with him early on but the only one’s today are what he will get up to next.

The snow proved a point when I was in the ménage with some of the dogs and we were playing retrieving the ball and the other bits I have in there. After it was all over and I was ‘dog tired’ we all went back up to the house for munchies and a cup of tea. That’s bad English isn’t it?

We all went back up to the house and they had some munchies and I had the cup of tea.

That night it snowed and still was the following morning when I took some of them back in the ménage for their constitutional moments. Once completed, Duncan wanted to play.

But play with what?

How good are these dogs??

His leg may have been a source of disruption to his early life but none of that dampened his senses.

Duncan sniffed around for a while and at one particular point decided to dig through the snow and recover a ‘thing’ that we had been playing with the day before.

Of note here is the ‘digging’!!

Oh yes – the Duncan digs with those front legs as well. Not all the time of course, but the snow had covered thepotential to have some fun and he had found it.

The funny part was that he brought me his ‘find’ and of course I threw it for him. Which disappeared into the snow again, which then set off the cycle of events – find it, dig it up, give it back to the idiot to throw and off we go again……..well you try saying no after he’s done all that work!!

And now to bring you up to date with his latest little set back that cost me dearly??

Not financially you understand, although I had to appease The Dearest One with a meal one night just to stop her complaining

“Well it’s not my fault, how the hell was I to know what they were doing”

THEY being Duncan AND Claude. Starsky and Hutch, Kirk and Spock, Tom and Jerry, Laurel and Hardy, all of them rolled into two dogs!!

The Dearest One asked me, that if I was working outside could I take a few of the dogs out with me.

“Oh yes of course I will you’re fabulousness”

She let out a ‘few’ of the dogs inclusive of murky and lurky – AKA Duncan and Claude

“And keep an eye on them” “Don’t let them get muddy or dirty, I’m cleaning up”

I just knew this was a disaster in waiting

Sometime later………….

It was time to go indoors and finish for the day. The dogs were all suitably exercised and had had a good few hours outside with me.

Then around the corner came Duncan and Claude



They weren’t muddy nor were they dirty??

But they were covered in a dark grey shade of black in places and all the white bits weren’t white anymore. Claude you could not distinguish between his colours and Duncan was a disaster on legs.

They both stopped and looked at me as if to say “Yea, so we’ve changed colour, so what”

I was clearly in BIG trouble and I would get the blame for not ‘keeping an eye’ on them

I then came up with an ingenious plan!! (Oh Oh)

This plan was more cunning than a cunning thing in a cunning factory.

I would simply brush in the white bits using talcum powder and flour. Brilliant

First part of this cunning plan was to hide Claude and start on Duncan. I would investigate this colouring later on because the emphasis was to return these two idiots back to their normal state.

Whatever this was and wherever they had been it was weird because they were not wet, not even damp, but whatever this stuff was then it had changed their colouring like a dye in clothing. It wouldn’t wash out (I tried) and yet had somehow made their white coats a dark grey and in patches black.

I got a paint brush and set to work on my ingenious plan and ‘She’ would never know the difference unless I got caught or she found Claude??

This was far from amusing and would take time to complete without raising suspicion. It was also a real pain trying to cover up the chaos on Duncan and with him being the bigger of the two dogs it looked even worse. So far so good…………

I worked slowly on his head, neck and over the shoulders and gradually his coat was returning to a sort of creamy colour, close enough and if I kept him at a distance ‘She’ would just think all was OK.

Duncan was far from impressed!!

If he could have grinned he would have no doubt just ‘grin and bear’ with it.

But it was taking too much time and with Claude still to do this was slowly heading to the time when I would be in the dog house. And how the hell would I explain what I didn’t know??

I was torn between finishing Duncan and investigating the cause when ‘She’ found Claude

I knew she had found Claude??

There was an almighty scream and words to the effect of “What have you done to my little doggy”? And “Gosh”

“Why is The French thing brown and grey”?

“What were you thinking letting him get like this”?

“You @#$%^&^%$# idiot”

So that didn’t go down well did it?

She came out into the conservatory where I was ‘painting’ Duncan

“Oh no” “Not him as well”

I then spent what felt like an eternity trying to explain that I had no idea why they were this colour, where they had been and why I was trying to return them ‘back to normal’.

By this time I had completed most of Duncan’s head although it was tricky to say the least. And it was obvious some parts were not quite going to be the same!!!

And Claude was as bad.

It took me several cups of tea and a small set of step ladders to get The Dearest One off the ceiling where she had spent the time clung to it in a reasonable state of anger, confusion and shock at my minor discretion with two of the dogs.

As noted earlier, Duncan isn’t perfect (well he’s not now) but he is after all just like the rest and although not in any way mischievous he does have his moments – and this was one of them.
Claude is another story for another day…….but because of his coat he will stay brown and grey for some time yet!!!!

Oh such joy ensued around the house once ‘She’ knew the colouring wouldn’t come out. Claude was going nowhere in that state. How embarrassing it would be and what will people think of us?
Blah blah blah………..

And the cause of all this trouble??

Well, earlier in the day The Dearest One asked me to take the ‘mats’ outside and give them a shaking and a bashing to get the dust off them.

These mats are a rubber backed carpet type of thing and large enough for two or three of our dogs to lay on. The mats are good at drying them out before they go any further into the inner sanctum of the house. After a while they need a good hose down and/or a brushing off - in this case the latter.

I got the mats outside hung them over a fence and proceeded to beat the living daylights out of them and stood proudly back to admire my artistry in having them once again looking ‘clean’.

DUNCAN somehow managed to pull one off the fence and ‘somehow’ turned it rubber side up.

Then both Claude and ‘HIM’ lay on it, and then decided to roll around on it to make it their own.

It was during the ‘roll around on it’ stage that the rubber transferred over to their coats and hence the colour change.

And how do we know this? Because the mole hunter in the cottage watched them do it and this spectacle of the two dogs kept them amused for some time.

I was not amused at not being told and there will be repercussions.

As for Duncan and Claude – well they are slowly but surely returning to normal.

But what normal is in our home is up for debate.

And so there you have it. Duncan is fit and well and for a time was the UKs only grey and white Spinone!! He has never been to the vet since and is nothing more than a big lump of a dog that enjoys his fuss and being part of our family. Duncan loves life, and it’s been good to him so far.

He’s come a long way since that cute little puppy climbing onto the patio and today he enjoys just being normal
Like we all are………….??



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