Friday, 29 October 2010

The Dog Jed

Dog-lovers among you will know that the Lurcher is a breed of exceptional charm and sweetness.  Not only very fast, but very calm and easy-going.

And of his peers, Jed must be as far out on the well-adjusted end of the personality spectrum as it is possible to get.

Although more of a cat-person myself, Jed is one of my all-time favourite characters, and I am totally happy to be his companion for a few weeks while his owners are elsewhere.

Here he is, brindled, smooth-haired and calm, and, it has to be said, distinctly micro-cephalic, resting quietly behind the sofa.

The reason for his lovely nature is said to be that the life he leads corresponds almost exactly with that for which he was bred, and the Lurcher is a runner.

Caught here in a rare moment of stillness as he waits to go through the kissing-gate, you can see that Jed is not so much small-headed as big-bodied, with strong, muscular legs and shoulders, and above all a huge chest to accommodate the pump and bellows needed to keep his muscles supplied with everything  they need, often at very short notice.

Derived from the Greyhound, dog of the aristocracy and forbidden to the poor (thus did the rich seek to appropriate to themselves the free goods of the forest), the Lurcher was bread essentially for poaching, mainly by Travellers.  Lur means "thief" in Romany, and I like to think that they used the term ironically.

Be that as it may, Jed loves nothing more than chasing hare and rabbit, squirrel and deer over open ground. He is delighted by all the scents of woodland, but is in his element where he can run completely free.

He walks and runs daily over the rolling open fields of the Weald of Kent, which is scattered with copse and woodland full of the creatures he is hard-wired to pursue.  These not infrequently venture into the open, and he, being a sight-hound, can see them from a very great distance.  I'm glad to say, despite his speed, they usually make it back to cover well before he reaches them.

Nevertheless, he has so much fun causing mayhem in the rodentine and ruminant communities around that he never seems disappointed. Perhaps he is just suffused with endorphins. Perhaps he knows instinctively, as part of his inner balance, that its the journey, not the destination, that counts in life.

I have tried to take photos of him doing what he loves best, but either I or my camera just aren't up to it:  this is what I got.

Oh well ......

Pity about the jump especially.  Like most hunting dogs, he can clear a five-bar gate like a cricket.

In many ways Jed lives in a doggie time-warp, rarely seeing roads and traffic, rarely in places he does not know, and almost always close to his owner, whether striding field and hedgerow or sitting not far apart while one works, the other dreams.

When not outdoors he is generally in his much-loved basket, where with blanket and a chewy toy or two he seems to achieve a zen-like state of contentment:-

....  through quiet contemplation,

... a little side snoozing ..

...some front snoozing ...

sometimes a bit of back snoozing for a change (he really is asleep here),

and Yoga

Thus does this gentle and disarming creature spend his pleasant days.

And among the best of his several gifts to me is that of a sufficient amount of exercise.

I have been for many weeks curtailing my daily walks due to joint pain.  But, forced by his need to expend energy, I have been walking at least two hours daily, sometimes more, and the pain apparently is no more, within a very few days.

This is a very welcome change.

So I will continue to re-learn from Jed the joy of walking, although I doubt you'll see me, cricket-like, clear fence or gate in a single bound.

But stay tuned.  You never know.  Life is full of surprises.


  1. Stumbled across your post via a google image search for "lurcher." We used to have a lurcher almost exactly like Jed except with long silky fur. The resemblance is startling though, especially in the eyes. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a lovely story! And adorable dog...

  3. Such a sweet doggy, incredibly fast too!! x

  4. Sarah, Jed is lovely. Don't you feel like keeping him with you? When do his owners come back from wherever they are? He seems very content with you, or maybe it's just the blanket-basket syndrome.

    I saw your bluebell post're lucky to be able to walk amid so much green, and swim in bluebell seas.