Long-time owner and breeder of 91 Lucas Terriers, and President of our Club until her untimely death in 2009. This is Jumbo's story in her own words - written in 1998.
As a family we lived near to the Hon Mrs Plummer (on right of picture), who was a good friend of my parents, and we had her dogs (of which she had sole control at that time for Sir Jocelyn Lucas - he and Lady Lucas I think at that time lived at Blickling Hall in Norfolk - miles away, and therefore Enid Plummer, no relation to Brian Plummer, directed the whole business). I am speaking of a time around 1947, which is when we had our first Ilmer Sealyham - other Ilmer Sealyhams followed and it was not until 1971 when I acquired a Lucas Terrier, black and tan, as a wedding present for my youngest brother. His mother in law wished them to have apricot coloured poodles so, to avoid a row, I kept the black and tan dog which I used to take daily to the office with the only remaining Ilmer Sealyham - an old bitch. This I had to have, because my father remarried at the age of 73 and sold our house in the country to live in London. So, there was no country base for the old girl - and I was the one who took her to live with me in London. That was in 1968.
Sir Jocelyn used to drown all the black and tan puppies in a bucket at birth. This was the only way he could achieve a standard colour as black is the Old English blood and in whatever breed, especially terriers, it will creep back. Enid Plummer abhorred this treatment but was very against using anything black and tan from which to breed. Therefore, by 1972 she was equally pleased to have the odd black and tan puppy as a pet but, of course, not as breeding stock. This black and tan puppy dog, as my first Lucas, was in many circumstances, of course, the BEST. To quote Michael Dyne, an equine and canine artist, in his delightful book 'From Litter To Later On' in his introduction says, "a man in his lifetime finds only one ideal woman, horse and dog" and so-after your first of anything is always THE BEST.
So it was with Badger, my first Lucas. To quote an anecdote about Badger. I used to take him riding across the fields and if ever came upon a road which I had to use I would dismount, pick him up and with some difficulty remount with him flopped across the saddle of my little thoroughbred Hunter, where he would relax, even in a trot - and when we reached the open fields he would jump off and gallop on. Whatever my gait he would try to be ahead of the horse and outpace him. He was quite remarkable - the day my father had a stroke in London I went to exercise him in Kensington Gardens where normally he would chase squirrels and birds too, but for four days after my father's stroke he adamantly refused to leave my side. He always came to the office with me and was always out of sight under the desk. One day I omitted to take him for a lunchtime walk and on returning home that evening I played Tag with him around the sofa in my stockinged feet, slipped off the rug on the parquet floor and broke my ankle. So he went to my brother while I was in hospital. Subsequently, when I went on holiday, my brother and sister in law took him to Devon on holiday with them. He was taken short in their hotel and found down the corridor sitting in the bathroom, having spent a large penny puddle by the loo! Tragically he was killed by a car in London because he was not on the lead. A long story I can never forget, nor fail to regret, and I have never not had a dog on the lead on London pavements since. They do all run free in Kensington Gardens and are very biddable. There are many stories I could tell about Badger in his tragically short 2½ year life. Such as jumping off a London bus on the stairs to the upper deck and me tying up the old bitch to the bus stop and running after him in my clogs - fashionable in 1973 - but his lives eventually ran out and I shall never stop reproaching myself for his untimely death.
His replacement was another black and tan dog called Beaver. I daresay Beaver was most memorable for many things but not the least when I received a telephone call from Enid Plummer at my London office desk to say she would take him to Cornwall to mate one of her bitches if I could ensure we met her at Paddington Station in a matter of minutes. I dropped everything, telephone and all, and he duly undertook the four-hour journey with her and successfully mated the bitch that late afternoon. The miracle of the story is that he was 11½ years old, had never had any opportunity of being married (mated) before and the result of the afternoon was 5 puppies, one of whom I bought. I was flabberghasted and said to my brother that I could not understand how he did it, to which my brother replied "Well, Jumbo, he hasn't lived with you for eleven and a half years and not learned a thing or two!" Beaver had encephalitis, as a result of a fall as a puppy before I had him, from a giant caravan onto concrete I reckon, and always walked like a Stormtrooper, which caused such hilarity wherever he went. The vets said he would not live after two years old but he died at 15 years old.
His son, Bodger, I adored. He too was run over and killed outright before my eyes in the driveway of a dear friend’s house - a mile from the road. She brought her husband home from the hospital with suitcases while I was staying there awaiting her return one February evening. I was helping with the suitcases and no doubt Bodger though we were going, but instead of leaving the car in the drive she chose to leap in and roar off towards the far bui garages and broke his neck as he ran across the drive to join us. I was broken-hearted and I have never spoken to her since.
Bodger's son, Mtoto, named after the racehorse, went to the Isle of Man in Mr Robert Sangster's private aircraft with Mr and Mrs Sangster sitting in the back, after Royal Ascot Races. I just flung them the lead - they'd never seen him and had been bribed by me to take him up to a mutual friend in the Isle of Man to mate her bitch. After a good deal of performance and, eventually, successfully mating her bitch, down he came again, having been in the cockpit with the crew. He'd not known anybody up there - nor en route - but now has a substantial family in the Isle of Man, as well as children and grandchildren. We did, in fact, have a mini dog show of all these which I went up to judge.
In January 1998 I had two litters - in separate rooms here in Eydon. Both bitches whelped the same morning and all seemed well until at 10 days old with one litter of four and one of three, Ginger Rogers, the mother of the larger litter decided she was going to raid the litter of her grandmother, who was in the garden. Against all odds she leapt over all the obstacles separating the litters and jumped three feet over and into the whelping box - jumping out with one of the puppies in her mouth and back over into her box. The puppy screamed its head off and I was alerted. I found to my horror her cuddling it and with it in a state of shock. It did survive and I have kept it as the seventh addition to my canine family here. One of Ginger's puppies went to London and his owner has said she had never ever met so many people in London since he arrived. One man in a car screeched to a halt to enquire what sort of terrier he was. She says it is like being with a film star. I could go on for pages - I keep madly in touch with all my owners. They are all Lucas Terrier addicts. This is because the dogs are so biddable, so affectionate and are extremely intelligent. They are anyone's to take home - my Mtoto was known here locally as Mtoto The Tart. They are easy to train, love children and without being wimps are characters, and sporting without buzzing off into the blue. If taken for a walk they always look round and constantly check to see where you are, and mine even return from the chase (rabbit, squirrel or hare) without being called. I go on the assumption that if you constantly call a terrier they know where you are, but if you do not call they come back to you. This is what people want now and for all these qualities I am struggling to breed them to give other people the joy I have from them since 1947 and 1971. My seven live here like a pack, in the house - and all sleep on the bed, unless there are other diversions!
Jumbo Frost 8th May 1939 to 11th November 2009
See also www.ourdogs.co.uk/News/2009/Nov2009/News201109/jumbo.htm
Last updated 23 Nov 12