Now we have a hound I guess I pay more attention to them, especially as we meet so many out on our walks; our small village is full of them and lots of outsiders come to take their creatures on the beach, or up the hill, or in the woods. As we met a friend with dogs the other day I got to thinking that there are some very good and lovely dog-owners here.
- Down the road from us lives a lady and family with black and white dog: he was a rescue five years ago, and must have had a very hard life as he is very aggressive when out in public. He’s always muzzled and on a lead, and the lady who I mostly see walking him always crosses over when she sees other people, especially with dogs, approaching. If he gets excited at the sight of another dog, she stops him and gets him to sit, look at her and then reward him when the other has passed by. He once attacked a man and bit his legs – luckily for the dog the man didn’t want it reporting or the animal put down. I met teh lady once without the dog; she apologised for him barking and her hurrying past without speaking. I told her she didn’t need to apologise at all. They have given this dog a loving home for the past five years, and it must be difficult for them in lots of ways to have a pet like that. I told her I admired her and her family for their compassion and love of their pet.
- When we first came to live here, there was a magnificent dog down the road, a real character. He was a golden collie called Thatcher, and rumour had it he was called that so the owner could say ‘down Thatcher’ – referencing the former prime minister. He used to sit on the front lawn and preside over the street. Sadly he has gone but now Troy lives with the owner, a very different dog, unsociable and grumpy; Troy doesn’t seem to like anyone, not even his owner very much, but he is perfectly quiet and well-behaved. He’s taken out for walks several times a day, and quite often he is accompanied by Hamlet and Willow. Hamlet, who is a bit of a dope, belongs to the owner’s sister who isn’t able to get out much, and Willow who is very lively, by someone else who needs help with dog walking. How good is Troy’s owner for walking not one but three dogs?! I admire her for her way with the animals and her love and kindness to them.
- We go walking in Uphill Woods, a small plantation on the north side of the village, between the bluebell field and the golf course, the sand dunes and beach to the west, Uphill Manor to the east. The Woods aren’t very big but they are very varied in little paths and hills and ditches and it’s a favourite place for dog walkers. One dog we bump into regularly is a huge and very fluffy Norwegian elkhound owned by a very friendly and kind old gentleman. To be honest, Beau the dog is really rather overweight, lovely though he is. We mistakenly thought the old gentleman must be spoiling him and giving him too many treats and snacks, but we were oh so wrong. Beau was also a rescue and he had been kept locked in a shed for three years, fed, but given no exercise – elkhounds are working dogs who need loads of exercise! Poor soul, no wonder he is so chunky. The old man had had him for about three years, and in that time Beau has lost several stone, so far from spoiling him, the old gent has had him on a diet and exercises him ! He said that over the years he has several Norwegian elkhounds (he may have said seven!) and all have been rescued animals. What a great old chap and how lucky Beau is. Beau is the most gentle and loving soul despite having had such cruel treatment as a young dog.
- we’re often out walking at night, our young dog doesn’t always settle very well… We quite often come across a young woman, a tiny young woman in high-heeled shoes walking her two big Akitas or they might be Malamutes, I’m not really an expert. They are almost as big as she is, but she walks them round and round the village as they bark at anything they see, and maybe things they don’t see but only think they see. She must walk them miles through the street lamp-lit byways of our village. Only occasionally do we see her during the day, fighting to control her big beautiful dogs. last time we saw her, our dog luckily completely ignored them as they walked on the opposite side of the road, but hers got so excited at the sight of him they pulled her over. I tried to cross over to her, my husband walking on with our dog who was looking to see if there were any squirrels (he thinks they are tree-climbing dogs) or pigeons (two-legged flying dogs) There was a rush of cars and by the time the road was clear the young lady was back on her feet. I called across to ask if she was alright and yes she was, she thanked me and walked off with her two big animals
These are just a few examples of who we know and meet on our walks, caring dog-owners and their various pets.