Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12th December - Out in the Cold

I am typing this trapped underneath the shivering form of our dog who seems to have caught a chill.  She's been with me at work all day, so exactly when she managed to get chilled is anyone's guess, possibly when she was tracking a fox when we had a little walk this morning. Anyhow, she's curled up in a fleece blanket and isn't keen on being moved any time soon.  As a smooth-coated terrier, she does get chilly so I shall have to make her a little coat.  Here's someone else who needs a coat...

Out in the Cold (1890) John Sargeant Noble
This painting does not have a lot going for it really - who wants to look at a sad dog in the snow?  Mind you, it is very convincingly wintery, I feel chilly just looking at it.  That is good looking snow that the poor mutt is sat in, and his pricked-ear listening infers that his owner is coming to let him in.  That may however be my own wishful thinking.  Just let the dog in!  The door he waits patiently at looks a bit holey and I would suggest it would be equally as cold inside as it is in the snow.  It is grim being poor, cold and Victorian...

The above dog belongs to a popular tradition of 'dog in snow' pictures such as this...

Sheepdog Rescuing a Ram from a Snowdrift (1880) British School
...and this one...

Winterguests (1887) Elizabeth Sinding

Oh, I like that one, that's gorgeous.  Elizabeth Sinding is Norwegian so at least she has an excuse to make her picture chilly, and I love the little birds.  We currently have a similar situation with a hundred weight of local sparrows raiding the chicken run in the back garden.  Really, we counted about 30 of them the other day, all at once.  It'e like The Birds but in miniature.  It would be terrifying if it wasn't so damn cute.  Sorry, back to the dogs...

Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveller Edwin Landseer
I think the many and various appearances of dogs in snow that occur in the Victorian period are due to the notion that dogs, especially big dogs, are working creatures of bravery and hardiness.  They portray the best of virtues: patience, ability to suffer for others, looking after and saving others, be they human or sheep.  Dogs in snow are like Jesus.  Only with paws.  And occasionally a brandy barrel.

I only just noticed the alarming amount of blood next to the 'distressed traveller'.  'Distressed' is a bit of an understatement.  How exactly are the dogs going to reanimate him?!  In the next picture possibly they don surgeon gowns and operate.  Maybe the brandy barrels are actual blood transfusion units?  Otherwise, I think he may be a goner.  Brandy makes many things better, such as my Christmas cake, but it isn't known for its ability to mend severe head injuries or raise the dead.  Mind you, what do I know?  I'm not a qualified doctor.  This might be a whole new strand of medical practice.  It does make my Christmas cake taste great, so possibly it's good enough to bring the dead back to life.  Mine came in a plastic bottle, so maybe mine can't raise the dead, only reattach limbs.  It only cost £9 a bottle, so I think you have to go to Waitrose for the reanimation Brandy.

Hopefully the dog patiently waiting for its useless owner won't have to wait too much longer.  Maybe it's already thinking 'I'll give her three more minutes, then I'm going down the pub with the mastiffs...'

See you tomorrow...


  1. I like the comment the horse in Tim Burton's version of "Alice in Wonderland" put it: "Dogs will believe anything." I'm more of a cat person because dogs are just so much effort. You have to train them and give them lots of exercise and they are always so desperate for affection.

    Whereas cats demand affection from you every once in a while, but only often enough that you feel honored by it. Otherwise, they are more than happy to leave you alone and just allow you to admire their beauty and prowess. But at least I have sense enough to recognize that dogs need work, unlike my neighbor who keeps her beautiful German shepherd locked in a tiny pen and won't allow my husband to walk the poor creature. Some people... need a good spanking.

  2. We have a rescue dog (some people will remember me talking about our plans earlier in the year) who came from Battersea. She's only tiny, but still requires as much time effort and exercise as our daughter. I agree that some don't quite appreciate the commitment a dog takes. Mind you, if the dog will subsequently bring you back to life should you receive a head injury while ski-ing, isn't it worth putting the time in?

  3. "I think you have to go to Waitrose for the reanimation Brandy."

    I have just discovered that laughing this hard while ill does my cough no good at all. I'm going to just curl under this blanket and look like a poor, Victorian, consumptive maiden. A giggly, poor, Victorian, consumptive maiden. Making "snerksnerksnerk" noises due to laughing while ill.

  4. I am so sorry! Quick, I'll send the Rescue Terrier round, however she might drink the reanimation brandy on the way and then catch the wrong train and end up in Paris. She's like that...

    Get well soon!


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx