Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dog days

Life has a way of turning up unexpected challenges, and delights. I haven't owned a dog since I was a child, but I am now in the position of having two dogs (and more!) in my life on a regular basis.

I loved my dog, Petra (pictured here with a slightly younger me), and she would accompany our family on holidays all over the country.  We used to drive to Devon, and I remember stopping at a pub called the Pig and Whistle (I have no idea where it was, but somewhere between London and Devon, and there was no motorway in those days).  This pub was just over a bridge by a river - and the bridge was about 20 foot above the field and water below.  I was in the field, and my brother on the top with the dog. Petra jumped!  I can still remember it now - a flying dog. Amazingly she didn't hurt herself.  Another time after we'd left the pub, my brother said 'Can we have the dog in the back please?' (in a big old Humber Super Snipe there was room front or back for her).  'She is in the back'.  Oh dear.... we turned around and drove back to the pub to find her sitting patiently by the bridge, just waiting for us.  She'd jumped in one open door, then straight out another!

Petra had a best buddy, my cousin's dog Dusty. She was a black mongrel (where have all the mongrels gone?) and was probably a distant relative of a Labrador somewhere along the way.  Her claim to fame was thinking that seaweed was grass and sinking in surprise into a salty lagoon. No harm there either, thankfully.  Petra used to go to the pet shop in Whetstone High Road on her own - travelling there from our house by going up the road, across on the zebra crossing, and then back down to the pet shop where she would get a doggy treat. In those days you let your dogs out on the street, and dog poos dried in the sun in the gutter to a chalky white.

Getting comfy
Now my life is very doggy-ful again. And I am loving it. My daugther has a very cute Bichon Frize (see Two Walks), and I am sometimes left in charge.  She's a real cutie.  And I spend lots of time with Axle (see him in Gift of Snow) and Chizel (see below), my two new best friends.  A couple of weekends ago I assisted at two dog shows. My job was to help move the equipment for an agility display team. I wasn't that slick and had to be prompted more than once, but had great fun watching the pooches perform with their proud owners. And the show dogs watched too, or more often commentated very vocally.

Chizel and I
(Photo by Hannah)
The dogs (and a couple of cats) belong to the owner of the dog training and agility club, and I am now used to being sat upon, going for long walks, finding dog hairs in places where dog hairs shouldn't be, and generally enjoying their companionship.  The coming weekend is a bank holiday, and predicted to be hot. I shall be going to a dog event again, and helping with the display team equipment again.  Later in June I am going to be promoted to (temporary) commentator, talking the watching audience through the antics of the dogs, talking about their histories and what kind of dogs they are.  I am looking forward to that - and hopefully I won't make a mess of it.  Dog days ahead.


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