Most of you will probably be asking yourselves – what on earth is a Coton de Tulear? You would be right to ask! It is a very small dog! History lesson coming up!
Arriving in Madagascar – these little dogs appeared from over the seas on the ships where presumably they hunted the rats – who knows really? There are many stories about them, but suffice it to say that they were beloved of the royal family and no-one else was allowed to have them.
Possibly because they were carry size, lap size and very pretty – mainly being pure white, long haired and extremely pretty!
One story which always amused me was that the dogs – which used to roam in packs – not terriers I hasten to add – came across a broad river which they could not cross, there being no bridge and the water full of crocodiles. Very clever these little dogs – so they started barking (which believe you me they are extremely good at – and loud!) and running up and down the bank until the crocodiles started to follow them.
The main body of the pack then appeared at the edge of the water and rushed across on the backs of the crocodiles to the other side! The crocodiles being stunned by this made no effort to stop the few who had been barking at them also running over their backs!!
True or not – a lovely story to have a little dog outwit a large, ferocious crocodile!!
Back to mine – yes, I have two of them!
Another story, but this time it is absolutely true as to how I got my first one, Alika. I used to have tibetan terriers who lived to a ripe old age and upon their demise – my life was awful! I felt so lonely – no reason to go walking again as I felt. However, one day several months later, I was having lunch with my sister when she tapped me on the arm and pointed. I turned to see what she was looking at and my heart melted!!
There, looking directly at me was this tiny, white ball of fluff with a shiny black nose and the biggest eyes I have ever seen on a little dog! However, the strange thing was that they looked exactly like the eyes of my beloved tibetan. Tears poured down my face and there followed the strangest of stories from that first encounter with a Coton de Tulear.
Needless to say I wanted to know what, where, how much etc etc and was horrified when I was told that a puppy would probably cost me around £1500-£2000!! They are, to this day, a rare breed in England and so command huge prices.
Undeterred (??) I wanted to know if there was a breeder anywhere near the area and was told that there was one about 20 minutes drive from my home – where this puppy had come from in fact.
No money – but that didn’t stop me! I got on the ‘phone and called that afternoon. In my mind I knew exactly what I wanted – small, white (ok that was a given!), female, not a puppy and with the right name – I am not a lover of dogs names being the same as human ones – I like them to be relevant to where they come from.
Anyway, as it happened (as it always does!), she had a family pet Coton, called Alika (perfect!) who she was looking to home as felt she needed to be the sole dog. Alika was 21 months old at that time. Could I wait to visit? No, I could not!
I found my way to the breeder’s in the next couple of days – was ushered into a large room where there was a fabulous Italian bloodhound – which she also bred. I was informed that the dog would bark at me as it was very nervous and only responded to her – wrong!! I am very much a dog person and I think it actually horrified here when she came back into the room and the dog was sitting at my feet being stroked! Ho hum!
She brought Alika into the room eventually (I was sitting on pins by this time!) and as soon as Alika saw me she let out this enormous howl and rushed over to me – straight onto my lap. The breeder said that she had never heard the dog make that noise before and couldn’t understand it (I did – it was the noise my tibetan made if I left him alone too long!)
Alika then promptly refused to go to her owner, would have nothing to do with her and stayed firmly on my lap. Then the rest of the family came in – about 10 of them altogether – and naturally wanted to say hello to me. Alika was having none of it!! ‘She’s mine! So she growled at them all until the moved off!!
Finally, to cut a long story short as I don’t want to bore you – it was very obvious to the breeder that Alika was meant to be mine but she wanted to think about it – as they do! As I left Alika followed me to the door – crying. At home I then spent the next 4 nights sending mind messages to Alika – misbehave; be impossible, show you are miserable etc. Then I got the call – ‘are you still interested in Alika?’ Absolutely I said – she then told me how Alika had behaved once I was gone! Impossible, disobeyed everything, wouldn’t eat, howled etc etc!! Great!
So she was obviously meant for me! Down I went to collect her and got the deal of a lifetime as a result of Alika not being right for anyone else – half the price with 4 months to spread the payments – and Alika and I went home and she didn’t even give a backward glance!
After 4 years together – the bond is so intense between us – I felt that it needed to be lightened so I got a puppy. Careful to avoid showing Alika any less affection than usual -she has utterly accepted him and they are amazing together!