OSCAR... is a sweet, smallish spaniel x boy who turned up in Dunboyne pound  as a stray just before Christmas.

We reckon he is 18 months to 2 yrs old and he is a very soft and cuddly lad (with a beautifully soft and silky coat) who loves human company and will follow you around all day given half the chance... He is great with other dogs and loves to play, although his social skills are a little lacking so my gang are slightly turning their nose up at him at the moment - except for our Tara who has used her feminine wiles once or twice to tempt him into the chase-round-veg-patch game.

Oscar very nearly became the first-ever dog I lost on Salisbury Plain on our first walk with him.  We always let the new rescues off-lead  straight away (well, except for the setters!) because we are well-away from any roads and we walk as a pack - to which even the most determined wanderers will return.   Well that’s the theory...

Oscar, however,  simply trotted off in the opposite direction and totally ignored any calls. No matter, I thought, he’ll soon follow - but, nope, he was oblivious to the lure of the pack.

Finally, just as dusk descended, he turned up - just as I was about to call out the emergency services (my other half, Jon). The next two walks were on a flexi-lead - to get him used to the idea of walking as a pack - and then we tried again. Bingo! Oscar trotted along with us very nicely, happy to check-in every few minutes for a bit of Waitrose cooked cocktail sausage (the killer recall treat...).

We think Oscar has lived a life where humans have not been much more than passers-by, so it hasn’t really occurred to him that we might actually want him to tag along.  But he’s got the hang of it now and is good company on walks.

He is great in the house - no accidents after the first night - and settles fine on his own. He is, of course, fairly active as he’s only a youngster, but he’s not one of those that needs endless long walks.

Oscar is slightly food-possessive  - although only of a premium treat like a chew or marrow bone.  He’s fine around his main dog food - and has also learned to not nick food from the others (a lesson always quickly learned here...!)   In fact, he’s not that food-orientated, and is not a huge eater.

I earned a nip when I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck when he slipped his collar out walking when he first arrived. He has been fine since getting to know me better and he doesn’t complain at all if you hold his collar to prevent him going through doors/pull him off the sofa so I clearly had just frightened him. But as we have seen this knee-jerk reaction, we will not rehome him to a family with young children. 

All in all, a really lovely - and loving - boy who would be very happy to lay contentedly at your feet after his walks. Actually, he likes to sneak up on to your lap too, where he will cuddle up and fall fast asleep (and at only 17kg, he’s just about feasible as a lapdog...)

Oscar was neutered two days ago, is fully vaccinated, microchipped and wormed.

UPDATE 19/1/11

Rehomed! Oscar has gone to live with Greg and Jacky in Berkshire and here’s the latest update: “He has settled down and just loves all the visitors that have been to see him,” writes new mum Jacky. “We were even given a bottle of Champagne last night to celebrate having him.

“He loves his home and all the different walks we go on. He is a fantastic boy and sleeps upstairs with us but not on the bed - he is very good with our commands normally. On the lead he gets better and better although we are booked to take him to training next week.

“Greg and I have not stopped laughing and smiling since we have had him. Thank you so, so much for letting us have him. He is such a joy and a huge part of our family.”

A very loving home this one where we know he will always be cherished. What a lucky boy!

(added 12/1/11)

Above, Oscar safe and sound in the UK and, below, in Dunboyne Pound just before Christmas.