A 36 kilo hairy gundog ninja is perhaps hard to imagine. Amongst our daughter’s school friends, ‘ninja’ has become a verb, as in ‘to do a Ninja’. Well I can now exclusively reveal that our Italian Spinone can do a ninja, too.
I can be working in the kitchen, preparing snacks or meals, and be opening and closing the fridge and cupboards, and Ozzie will be asleep in another room, seemingly oblivious. I can turn from the fridge with tomatoes, celery, courgettes or other vegetables fresh from the crisper without incident. But if I turn from the fridge with a carrot in my hand, Ozzie will have ghosted to my side. This is such a regular experience, it no longer makes me jump. In fact it has become a game. I try to turn the radio up, cough loudly, rattle jars in the fridge to disguise my stealthy opening of the crisper, silently withdraw the orange object, turn – and there he is. It is clear that it is Ozzie, and not I, that is the carrot Ninja.
Our Spinone likes his fresh veg, with raw broccoli and cucumber being near the top of his list. But without a doubt the clear favourite is carrot. We even use it for dog training: where other dogs at the classes were rewarded with meat or biscuit-based treats, Ozzie would sit and drool enthusiastically for carrot – and still does. It’s not that he doesn’t like meat or biscuits, it’s just that we would prefer the satisfying crunch of a fresh carrot. And I suddenly remember that when he was a puppy we caught him helping himself to our home-grown carrots growing in the raised bed!