A foxhound and a cat have renewed the great friendship that started between them when the foxhound – Belvoir Polish 10 – was a puppy.
Born at the Ledbury hunt kennels when Belvoir huntsman and H&H columnist John Holliday was hunting the Ledbury hounds, Polish was walked by Sally and Julian Pritchard in 2009.
Sally said: “She was only the second hound puppy we had walked. The first was really naughty, but Polish was great. She played with our cat, Bart, for hours, and was really gentle with him. He was only a kitten then.
“She loved our working collie and our terrier as well and they all played and slept together.”
John took Polish – who is by Heythrop Ponder out of Ledbury Satin – with him when he moved to the Belvoir, and thus she was entered as a Belvoir hound.
“She’s been a really good hound – low-scenting but quick, and particularly good through sheep and cattle,” said John. “I did find at first that she tended to be away and gone on a trail a bit too quickly, but having her first litter of puppies steadied her up a bit, which was perfect.
“I’ve always been very fond of her – she was my connection with 14 years of breeding the Ledbury hounds – and she hunted right up until the end of last season. I wanted her to stop while she was still going really well, and I always knew that she would go back to being domesticated without a problem.
“I thought about keeping her myself in retirement, but we already have seven dogs here. Polish always recognised Sally whenever she saw her and I knew she and Julian would give her a lovely home.”
Sally says: “I’d always said I’d have her back to retire, but John didn’t give us much warning – he rang up on his way to the Cheltenham Festival in March and said, ‘Is it ok if I drop her off now?’!
“We didn’t know how it would pan out, but we said we’d give it a go. As soon as she arrived, Bart the cat saw her and jumped down through the window. She wagged her stern and he went and rubbed himself up against her. They love each other – Bart would never come for a walk with the dogs before Polish came back, but he will now.
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“We have a ginger rescue kitten which we found in the middle of the road on the way to a party, and Polish loves her too – she’s so gentle and calm.
“She remembers everything about being here as a puppy. She used to sleep in a shed in the garden, and she went straight there and curled up in it, and pottered off to where the pigs used to be – she used to play with them all the time when she was a puppy, but we haven’t had any pigs for eight years now!
“She has shown no indication of wanting to go off hunting; she mooches about, and is probably the best behaved animal I’ve had!”
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