1973 – The “B” Litter
The assumption at the time that the result of us having a litter of puppies the previous year caused Viv to become broody is just not true.
It just so happened that, having got ourselves reasonably well organised in terms of buying a house and an old car, and also having become, as I thought, settled in my job for a year or two, we thought it a good time to have a child.
Of course, the previous whelping had been instructive and helpful in a number of ways, one being that, when we found Viv was pregnant, we had perhaps a little bit more of an idea of what to expect. I certainly felt this.
From the start we decided that although we wanted to have a child, we would not allow it to rule our lives and we would ensure that our various social activities, including dog showing, were curtailed only to the extent which was absolutely necessary. So it was that during her pregnancy, Viv continued to go to dog shows and when she got to the stage of being unable to show Brena herself, other people, particularly Marigold, showed Brena for her. Viv, however, insisted on always going.
As time went by, and Viv’s expected date of whelping in the September drew nearer, her show attendances continued unabated. In fact, she went to dog shows so near to the date of the baby’s birth that one lady, a well known figure in Golden circles, asked Marigold to stop Viv from coming to the shows, as Viv’s attendance so close to the big day was unnerving her. I do not now remember the precise words used, but the message was clear. People should plan to have their babies in hospital or at home, but never at dog shows.
I said that one of the factors which caused us to decide to start a family was the likelihood that I would be settled in my job for a while. Being the steady, reliable sort of chap that I am, I then changed my mind and got a job in Leicester. From the August onwards it was, therefore, a matter of working in Leicester staying with Gill and Graham, friends who owned Acquaintalina (litter sister of Adelina- Flappa) and commuting back and forth to Viv in Sutton at weekends.
Come the day and I had a phone call at work to say that it was all happening and could I get back down to Sutton. Quick call to the boss (“off you go lad”) and I was off south arriving at the hospital (note hospital, not dog show) in the early evening. Having already been present at one birth, we had earlier decided that I would also be present at this one, and the hospital was one of those which allowed such things. They didn’t all at the time.
It was a girl. We didn’t know beforehand and it was what we had both hoped for. The next thing, of course, was to choose a name. No monk-like musing over this. Viv had recently read a book where someone was called Briony and it was a name which we both instantly liked. We settled on it straight away as soon as Viv suggested it.
It was only afterwards that we realised that “Briony” begins with a ‘B’ and she could be our ‘B’ litter. It was a joke to start with but in fact when we next had a litter the names began with ‘C’. After all, we thought, why should Briony share the first letter of her name with a litter of puppies.
Being in Leicester during the week, I had an easy time of it for the first few weeks of Briony’s life. I didn’t have to get up at night except during the weekends. This couldn’t, of course, last for ever, and in November we moved into a house in Huncote, near Leicester, which became the base for our canine expeditions for the next few years.
Strangely enough, when we next moved house, a pregnant bitch again figured prominently and became a complicating factor, but that’s a story for another time.