Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Virginia Country from A to Z: D is for Dogs

Just in the nick of time, I looked up from reading, "Dogs must be on a leash" in Saturdays horse show program, to avoid being taken out at the knees by two careening Australian Cattle Dogs,

and I tried to recall if I had ever actually seen a dog on a leash at a horse show.


  Dogs and horses go together like grits and gravy.  

I've noticed that country dogs in general have a rather been-there-done-that attitude.  In barns, at horse shows, they are always loose, but in some sort of universally accepted dog-world treaty, country dogs seem to largely mind their own beeswax.

Although they may pause for a pat on the head if you must (I must), or a pick-up game with a new acquaintance (ergo the Australian Cattle Dogs),

   they mostly trot along after their owners or sleep in the sun.

Young Jacqueline Kennedy loved dogs and horses from childhood.

Young Queen Elizabeth and Jane, her father's dog.  I read recently that Queen Elizabeth has Corgis and Dorgis, after one of her Welsh Corgis had a brief liason with one of Princess Margaret's Dachshunds.

Mini and Cooper live near Poplar Grove, and frequently visit through the back gate.

Designer Darryl Carter at his 19th-century Virginia farmhouse with Otis and Lucy.

Ellie at the Virginia country home of designer Barry Dixon. 

Stop to visit a Virginia pal for some sweet tea, and you'll often have to step over an ancient foxhound, dozing away his golden years on a sunny porch.

French Foxhounds by Charles Olivier DePenne

A friend has a perpetually sad-looking retired French foxhound, whose ears are so frayed at the ends they remind me of those sudsing strips at a carwash.  She relates that he got beat up a lot in the pack in his younger days, but laughs, "Don't feel sorry for him though, he almost always started it."

Sometimes one sees a foot twitch or a hears soft wuf as he dreams about his glory days.

Be sure to check out the dog photo contest at Garden & Gun, here

We think that country life is more a state of mind, than a state of, well... State.

Whether your home is the city, by the sea, in the mountains or Farm town, USA, country life is about how you approach living your day, how you feel about your home, and how you care for yourself and your neighbors.

Virginia Country Life from A-Z is a series inspired by our homes in Virginia.  It's about some things and people we love, and some ideas for making your life a little more country- wherever you are.

Next post... E is for...

From our Library:

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Images: 1-5.  Carterse via Flicker 6.  Cash, Washington, VA by Camden Littleton for Garden & Gun 7. Jacqueline Kennedy Photographer Unknown 8. Young Queen Elizabeth Photographer Unknown 9. Jennings & Gates  10. Photographed by Simon Upton via PointClick home 11. via Traditional Home 12. Unknown 13. For Garden & Gun magazine by Andy Anderson, Photographer 14.  Garden & Gun magazine 


  1. As a dog owner in a suburb of Orange County, California I wish more people would take the country way of thinking about dogs. We happen to live in a lively area that has quite a few hiking trails where I let my 2 dogs off lead...but invariablily there is always someone who freaks out due to their fear of dogs. I'm not trying to trivialize that honest concern, but when a dog is off lead they are generally indifferent to most folks, unless, as you say, there is someone wanting to pat a head. I love the images you've shared, but then I love dogs!

  2. Hi Karen! I wasn't really writing about leashing or not leashing, but you do bring up an excellent point. It would be great if dog owners in general were more responsible. Training in obedience, cleaning up after them and using good judgement as far as context and appropriateness. In the horse world, it seems that people who have horses are not likely to keep dogs that cannot be trusted around horses, farm animals, people or other dogs. I'm a dog-lover too, but like you, I understand that someone who has been bit by a dog might have real misgivings. I was bit quite badly by a horse once and it definitely changed my approach to strange horses and even how I handle my own.

  3. D is also for Devotion...the endearing quality that embodies "man's best friend".

    Love the photos and stories!

    1. Donna, that would have been a perfect title for this post. You're so creative! N.G.

  4. i adore this series and 'D' in particular. my corgi cooper loves a good horse show, oh the smells!

    1. Thanks Debra, I'm so glad you like it, it is fun to do! The corgi's in the photo, Mini and Cooper belong to my friend Joan. She does agility with them, and they just love it. I'm sure the two of you would have lots to talk about! N.G.

  5. As a dog lover I loved this post. You have the most wonderful way with words!
    Your blog makes me want a place in the country in Va. I'd move to the shenandoah valley in a heart beat if I could talk my spouse into it.

    In regards to a previous comment, I witnessed a brutal dog attack on Sunday .. off leash dog brutally attacking a dog on a leash.

    1. Hi Kathy, Thanks! The Shenandoah valley is so gorgeous.

  6. Dogs have always been a part of my life. I hear echoes of Rocco, Chipper and Coco here in our house and around our yard. They will always be with Sally and me.

    Mini and Cooper. Love it!!! And yes, country dogs have a certain attitude. Maybe it's because they don't have to deal with the constraints of a leash and city living.

    Have a great weekend!


    1. Hi John, I so agree, dogs make a house feel like home!

  7. I could look at pictures of dogs all day.
    Oh now you've made me want to visit Virginia for sweet tea.

  8. Do you have the book 'Living With Dogs' by Laurence Sheehan? It is one of my favorites - in a house with two Labs. Enjoying your blog very much! All best, Phyllis

    1. Hi! I do, such a wonderful book, I was just about to put it up for recommended reading. Your blog, website and Pinterest page are divine. I'm your newest devoted follower! N.G.


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