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Country notebook

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

By Philip Bowern

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When they were much younger my whippets enjoyed chasing things, as whippets tend to do. Not cats, at least not cats when I was around as they knew they were 'off limits'. But squirrels, rabbits and, on a few notable occasions, a fox. This was, I hasten to add, 'pre-ban' and, in any case, there were never more than two whippets involved in the pursuit so it almost certainly would be categorised as exempt hunting. Also no foxes were ever harmed in the chase. On one occasion the whippets were running down one side of a thick hedge, the fox down the other when they both came to a gap at roughly the same time and confronted each other, face to faces, as it were. The whippets looked much more startled than the fox – their speciality was running, not seizing and biting an animal as big as them – and the fox made good his escape.

I was reminded of this the other morning when, on a walk, both whippets, now in the autumn of their years and no longer up to running very much, came upon the strong scent of fox. I wondered, as I saw them prick their ears and scramble to find where the trail led, if their doggy memories harbour fond recollections of their hunting days. I hope they do. Part of the enjoyment of country sports is looking back on memorable occasions. Perhaps it is the same for dogs.

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