Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Caesar (c1898-1914): A dog fit for a King

One of the most famous WFTs is King Edward VII's dog, Caesar. He was bred by WFT enthusiast the Duchess of Newcastle, sired by Ch Cackler of Notts. He's a scruffy little fella, isn't he?

Edward had many dogs, including Bassett Hounds, Clumber Spaniels and Chow-Chows but Caesar was the king's favourite and travelled widely with him, both at home and abroad. Apparently many a country trip was delayed while Caesar went off hunting. Once, in Marienbad he ran off into the woods and an entire police force had to search the countryside for him until he was eventually found. He wore a rather fetching collar which said "I am Caesar. I belong to the King" which ensured that he could always be identified and returned home safely.

Caesar wasn't always a popular houseguest, being rather partial to gentlemans' trouserlegs. The daughter of Edward's mistress, Alice Keppel, complained in an unpublished memoir that she hated Caesar and that despite daily grooming, he stank!

In 1908 Edward VII commissioned Carl Fabergé to make this trinket for his wife, Queen Alexandra. It's made from chalcedony (a type of quartz), gold, enamel and rubies.

On Edward's death in 1910, Caesar is reported to have been broken hearted. The very best veterinary care was enlisted as he barely ate or drank, mourning the loss of his master.

Caesar and Edward's favourite charger famously accompanied the King's funeral procession. You can just about make him out in these photos.

Apparently, as the procession reached Hyde Park Gate a stray dog rushed over and was sternly rebuked by Caesar. You can read an account of the funeral from the New York Times 21 May 1910 by clicking here.

The sight of Caesar mourning at the funeral captured the nations' hearts and thousands of postcards of him were issued. He even wrote a book called "Where's Master?" What a clever little dog he must have been.

Here's an extract from the final page:

Maud Earl painted this portrait, entitled "Silent Sorrow" which shows Caesar with his head resting on Edward's favourite chair.

If you look closely at the photo below you can see a carving of Caesar curled up at Edward's feet on his tomb in St George's Chapel, Windsor.

Caesar died in April 1914 and was laid to rest in the grounds of Marlborough House, which was then the residence of Queen Alexandra. She composed this inscription on his tombstone which reads as follows:

"Our beloved Caesar who was the King's Faithful and Constant Companion until Death and My Greatest Comforter in my Loneliness and Sorrow for Four Years after. Died April 18th 1914"

Caesar sounds like my kind of dog. He was certainly fit for a king.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Dog books

Do you collect books? J1 collects cookery books and books on WFTs. I also collect books but as I have rather a low attention span I prefer perusing through photo collections.

I was delighted when I received this book for Christmas:

In this book Catherine Johnson has collected an assortment of black and white amateur photos of dogs from the turn of the century to the early 1950s. The photos show dogs in family portraits, at play, in humorous poses and just being themselves.

Naturally, I looked to see how many WFT photos there are; not many, but of course they're all rather good.

What's going on here? It looks like the dog is holding a WFT toy but he doesn't look too happy though, does he?

This poor dog looks as though he's had rather a severe haircut. He's all nekkid apart from his front legs and beard!

Catherine Johnson
London: Phaidon Press
ISBN: 9780714848037

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Another scene of mass destruction

What kind of wild and savage creature could turn this:

into this?

Who could do such a terrible thing?

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


My limerick-writing pal, Karen-Jo has just awarded me the Extraordinary Gold Star Special Award, and I'm deeply touched.

This award was created by Storm, The Furry Fighter and is for bloggers who have achieved or done something special. The award celebrates beyond what is ordinary or usual.

The rules for accepting this award are:

1) Post the explanation and rules of the award and link back to the blogger who presented you with it and repeat the reason why you received it.

2) Pass the Award onto two other bloggers who you think deserve it and explain why.

Karen-Jo gave me this award because despite my ongoing health problems, she thinks I'm cheerful and funny. Thanks pal, I try!

Now who do I pass this onto? Mmm, after careful thought and consideration I would like to pass this award to Faya the airedale because she blogs in both English AND French! Mais oui!

My second nomination goes to Axel the WFT for all his hard work in publicising the terrible plight of the Blainville Wires.

To end, here is a rather nice photo of me. Please ignore the plant that J1 is slowly killing in the background.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Fashion dog about town

Here I am modelling my lovely new red coat, made by Snitchybug Dog Designs

Smart eh? It even has an opening in the back so that I can still wear my harness underneath.

It's soooooo soft and cozy I don't ever want to take it off!

I hope you don't think it's a bit girly, being red and all.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

The Case of the Missing Sweet Potato

It all started on Saturday. J2 had gone to watch his football team lose as usual and J1 and I were alone in the house. It was a cold and dark day. Rain lashed at the windows. In order to kill some time before my lunch I decided to follow Butchy & Snickers' recipe for making sweet potato chews.
I got my human secretary, J1, to wash the potatoes and slice them into thick wedges. Job done.

Then they were placed in the oven for 3 hours.

When they were cooked J1 put them to one side to cool down. I was distracted as I was conducting a forensic examination of a new so-called indestructible dog toy. Later that evening I decided to check and see how the chews had turned out. Notice anything STRANGE about this photo?

Yes, it appears that one slice is MISSING!

Thinking quickly, I reached for my detective coat (sorry Joe!) and looked for credible witnesses. Dunstan was keeping quiet as usual, but Barnaby was only too happy to blab.

Who do you think the culprit was?

That's right, you guessed it, it was J1 all along! She thought they looked really tasty as they were cooking and decided to eat a slice with her dinner.

Another excellent piece of police work by Detective Jackson. Case closed.

A little history lesson - The Chattri

Today J1, J2 & I visited the Chattri on the South Downs. The Chattri (which means umbrella in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu) is a small monument dedicated to the Indian Soldiers who died in the First World War, particularly the 53 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in hospitals in Brighton and whose remains were cremated at this spot. The memorial was designed by E C Henriques from Mumbai and the dome with its eight pillars are built from white Sicilian marble. Three large granite slabs lie over the original concrete cematory bases.

To reach it we had to walk through a field with cows in it. OK, they were rather a long way away but J1 is rather nervous of them and when we saw some RUNNING in the distance we nearly turned back. We also had to walk past another fenced area of cows. I didn't really like them especially as they started following us along the fence. I know they look harmless, but don't be fooled by their soft eyes, they mean business!

There were LOADS of 'em.
The Chattri is barely visible from a distance as it's surrounded by trees in a field in the middle of nowhere. It's a beautiful isolated spot. You can just about see the top of the dome in the photo below:

Here I am the reading the inscription on the monument, written in Hindi and English:

It says:
"To the memory of all the Indian soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their King Emperor in the Great War, this monument erected on the site of the funeral pyre where the Sikhs and Hindus who died in hospital in Brighton passed through the fire is, in grateful admiration and brotherly affection dedicated"
Here is the view inside the domed roof:

And to end the little history lesson, here I am looking rather handsome:

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Weirdy beardy

My pal Stanley the Airedale is hosting the First Ever Gooberstanian Beard Growing Contest. My beard used to be quite full and luxurious, but overenthusiastic combing by J1 has reduced it to a wisp of its former self. That's my excuse anyway.

When the contest was first announced in October my beard measured 2 inches. Today I have about 2 hairs that measure 3 inches. Do you think that counts?

Do you want to see the photographic proof? You have to look very closely to see the longest hairs.

The look I was actually aiming for was something a bit like this:

Yes, it's The Master himself, Roger Delgado. He's cool, suave and one of my favourite villains! Do you think I come close?

I noticed that a lot of my Airedale blogging pals have very thick and lustrous facial hair, even the girls! Maggie the Airedale let me into her secret; her facial fuzz owes its length to apple juice. Now I like to gnaw on a good apple myself and I have been known to sneak a quick slurp out of the many glasses of fruit juice that J1 leaves lying around. I think I’d better start hitting the apple juice and quick!