Life with 20+ ETTs: Pat & Lionel’s story
Pat & Lionel Waterhouse
Twowayshouse & Randallcarr
Pat & Lionel have owned, rescued and bred many English Toy Terriers over the past 20 years. They’ve welcomed countless newcomers into the breed and are well-known for being generous with their time, giving support and advice to anyone who needs it.
Much loved custodians of our favourite breed, here’s a peek into their life living with a pack of ETTs!
Tell us a bit about yourselves
“We are a retired couple who have had dogs of different shapes, sizes and breeds all our lives. We share a love of the outdoors and of nature and we are lucky enough to own, as well as our home in Chester, a piece of forestry land in Northumberland where we are able to spend a great deal of our time (with our dogs of course) doing conservation work; tree planting, reinstating wild flowers and generally working with all things wild and wonderful!”
Tell us something that people might be surprised to know about you
How many ETTs do you live with?
“At the last count there were over twenty! Yet they still have the ability to sleep on top of me on one sofa. As there are two of us and two sofas there’s always room for another one.”
Tell us a bit about them.
“Some are ones we’ve bred, some are ones we’ve bought to increase our gene pool and others are ones we’ve taken in as rehomes. However they came to us, they are all loved dearly. They are aged between a few months of age up to 15 and a half!
They’re all the same yet all different. They have different expressions, different sounding barks are different sizes. They react differently to a given situation. Some are outgoing, some very shy. Like people they may look similar but they all have different characters.”
Do any of them have any particular funny habits or quirks?
Tell us your funniest story about your etts.
“Now that’s a hard one. They make us laugh every day with their antics. One story that does spring to mind is something that happened years ago and could have ended in tragedy was when we were caravanning near Whitby.
We were walking them off lead in a securely fenced field. Now when I say securely fenced, I am talking about for normal dogs, not a determined Ett who can get through the eye of the proverbial needle!
We were just finishing our walk and putting leads back on them all when Monty, who was about twelve months old, squeezed himself through the deer fencing into a field full of cattle.
Hearts in mouths we called him expecting him to get trampled at any minute. He turned his deaf ears on. He then lowered onto his belly, sheep dog fashion, rounded up the entire field of cattle and took them down to the farm.
By this time he was a mere dot on the landscape and we were waiting for the bang of the farmers gun. To say we felt sick is an understatement.
To our amazement, we saw the little dot becoming larger… Monty was coming back. He arrived back at the fence, which of course he could no longer get through so he said, so pleased with himself.
His tail wagging and his expression saying did you see how clever I was? Needless to say, we never did that walk again! We can laugh about it now but it’s left me with a total mistrust of all but the most secure fencing!
That evening another caravaner parked near to the field said to Lionel “You wouldn’t believe how clever that Farmers little cattle dog is, it’s a dog bit like yours, he sent it up on its own to bring all the cattle out of the field and down to the farm and it did the job in no time at all.”
What does your typical day with the dogs look like?
How do you keep an eye on them all and keep everyone out of trouble?
What are your favourite and least favourite ETT quirks?
Least favourite.. the barking. Some hardly bark at all but the others more than make up for them! Their hearing is so acute that they hear the doorbell ring before it is touched. They hear the telephone before it rings, the hear an aeroplane overhead before it leaves the runway … you get the drift?”
What’s your proudest moment in ETT ownership?
“The joy of having such wonderful dogs to share life with. It would be impossible to pick out a special moment.”
How / when did you become interested in ETTs?
“Way back in the 70s, when walking our Dobermanns, we regularly met a gentleman with five of these delightful miniature versions of our beloved dogs (when I say miniature, I mean merely miniature in stature, most certainly not in personality!).
To see the bemused expressions on our dogs faces as these tiny dogs outran them and ducked and dived around them was absolutely hilarious.
The gentleman told us many stories about the breed and much of their history. He was, at that time, very concerned about talk of the introduction of the Toy Manchester Terrier to increase the gene pool. As we know, this has now become acceptable.”
How did Twowayshouse come into being? And how did you pick the name?
“Twowayshouse was never our first choice for a kennel name. As anyone who has applied for a kennel name knows, in those days by post, the Kennel Club seems to have a weird and wonderful way of granting them.
Our first choice was Deva, the Roman name for Chester. This was rejected as were all names with the Deva included in them as being a frequently used pet name. Still don’t understand the logic of that one.
Many other names were tried and rejected. Our house had two front doors as it was originally two houses, so we submitted Twowayshouse and it was finally accepted!”
Tell us about your experience with breeding dogs
“Having bred other breeds during my life, my first experience of whelping was when I was about 12 years of age and the bitch was a Corgi named Bunty.
I’ve had a fair amount of experience but I have to confess that even now I am always apprehensive. No two whelpings are ever the same, not even with the same bitch – I’m not sure if google becomes our friend or our enemy…
There are certainly new ideas and products available all the time that can aid with a difficult birth but if we’re not careful it can also make us forget that birthing should be a natural process and we should merely be there to give reassurance and comfort to a bitch with an eye out for any possible problems for mum or pups.”
If you could give your younger self a piece of ETT advice what would it be?
“Get into the breed earlier.”
What advice would you give to someone thinking of homing an ETT for the first time?
“Do your research. Try to meet someone with an ETT either at Discover Dogs or a dog show. Join the online community on social media and get talking to breeders.”
What advice would you give to someone considering breeding ETTs for the first time?
“Firstly, have you got health tested parents? Are they both of the right temperament? Are they free from hereditary problems? Do you have people wanting pups? Do you have the money behind you to pay for a caesarian section should it be needed?
Buy The Book of the Bitch by J M Evans & Kay White, read it, ask yourself if you have the time to devote yourself to looking after pups for at least 8 weeks.”
Are you involved with any other causes/charities?
“I’m a member of the SAMPA , (stolen and missing pets alliance) and I also actively support and campaign for compulsory scanning for pets.
Hundreds of dogs are lost/stolen every year and many never are ever found. Work to try to improve this situation is both rewarding when it’s successful but heartbreaking when it’s not. There is so much more work to be done.
What are your thoughts on the vulnerable status of the breed? What would you like to see for the breed in the future?
“Whilst I’d never wish to see this wonderful breed become “a must have dog“ and become too popular, I do worry that for so many years the numbers of pups registered has stayed around 100 pups per year.
I’d like to see this number increase to ensure the safety of this vulnerable breed and also to increase the gene pool.”