Monday, January 16, 2012

Tenterfield terriers draw worldwide interest

AN amazing breed of canines has featured on this site from time to time. The Tenterfield terrier, an Australian-bred variation of the miniature fox terrier, has generated site traffic from throughout the world.
There's obviously an interested audience for any postings about the terriers, so today I introduce two Tenterfield-cross puppies - Joey, above, and Millie - and share stories of joy and tragedy.
The pair, bred on Russell Island, Queensland, Australia, have the same bloodlines through the foxy mother and Maltese father; the foxy genes are obviously stronger.
Millie came to my family in December 2010. She died from tick paralysis in October 2011. We are still grief stricken.
At six weeks old she fitted comfortably in the palm of my hand. It was quite hilarious to hear such a tiny creature growl if anyone's hand infringed on her personal space when she didn't feel like any attention.

MILLIE was a robust puppy and soon picked up a few tricks. She would stand on her back legs at the command "walking dog" and when I lit a small campfire in the backyard she would help collect the fuel from the nearby bush, dragging sticks to the fireside.
During her short life she would play with the curlews that live on the vacant blocks around our house. She would challenge the birds for being on her turf, running up to them.
The birds, towering over the tiny dog, would raise their wings and hiss. Millie then would dance around them for a few minutes before moving on to another interest.
After Millie died, I dug a grave in the backyard. As I lowered her body into the hole, a curlew suddenly came into my field of vision, its head was only about half a metre from mine.
The bird looked into the hole at the dog's body, then looked at me, then again looked downward into grave, then slowly sauntered away.
It was like a solemn show of respect for the passing of a great mate, who had never appeared to "get serious" and show any wish to harm the birds.

WHILE all this was happening, Millie's mum was about to give birth to another litter. One day in December I awoke from a late afternoon snooze, exhausted from my early shift in newspaper production, to see my wife and daughter come home with another palm-sized puppy.
Joey has had to suffer comparisons with his elder sister. Unlike her, he was a very timid little creature, retreating if he received any attention at all.
He didn't like being handled or patted and would move out of reach at the mere gesture of such.
However, over the weeks Joey has become a lot more confident. In fact, he's getting to the stage of overconfidence but thankfully is starting to tolerate the lead.
Initially, he would scream at any attempt to attach the lead clip and sit or lie down and refuse to budge.
Getting his confidence and trust has been difficult because of his hyper-timidity but now we may have hope for some serious training.
Well, that's about it for now. I will keep up the Tenterfield terrier postings to help satisfy the worldwide appetite.

For the other Tenterfield and "mini foxy" stories on the site simply paste the keywords into the search box above. If you prefer the spelling "mini foxie", that's okay - they'll forgive you!

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