Thursday, April 23, 2009

What a Week...

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There's been a smell of cheap chicken wings and gristle-filled sausages wafting through the streets of Grantham lately. It must be quite a refreshing change for the local dogs. After months of walking along the pavements with their noses pressed to the cold concrete pavements (presumably to help avoid walking into one of the many 'puppy puddings' that seems to be increasingly prevalent lately) they are now each adopting a more snooty pose, as they stick their noses in the air, as though fitted with the latest canine must-have, the Sausage Positioning System.

This, of course, can only mean one thing - barbeque weather has fallen upon us. I know this because not only are the dogs walking along while constantly looking towards the clouds, but because, as I write this, I am fighting the urge to itch my shoulders, back, arms and legs. Yes, as predictably as a Brit heading straight for a British pub once he lands on a Spanish runway, in my desperate attempts to appear like a Moroccan labourer, I have overdosed on sunbathing.

Because of the sun we're eperiencing at the moment and because I'd rather not stay as red as an embarrassed lobster in a Soho shop window for the next week or two, I've taken to walking Ellie only in the cooler mornings and evenings. Much nicer and much more relaxing. Well, you would think so wouldn't you...

We live quite close to where Virgin release their air-balloons. People apparently pay Virgin good money so that they can see what they see every day but from a different angle. I'm actually thinking of planting a tall tree in my garden and inviting people to do pay me to climb it, but I digress...

The other evening I was walking Ellie. All was right with the world. Ellie was cheerfully chasing the ball through the long grass of the fields, the cooling breeze was massaging my shoulders and arms, and I was my pointing my camera at the spectacle of the overhead balloon that was gently sailing through the air. Mr Disney himself would have struggled to improve the moment. All was right with the world until the balloon wafted directly overhead and filled with gas at the same time. Have you heard the noise it makes? No? Neither had Ellie. She scarpered and I had memories of last year, when she almost ran home after hearing her first crow-scarer.

After finally coming back to me, she then ran up to every person she saw, begging them to shield her from the overhead ogre (which had actually left us some time ago).

The next evening was not quite so pleasant. I have a very firm belief that when I walk Ellie, or any of the home-boarding dogs that I take on, my responsiblity starts and ends with the dog I am walking. I am not there to take charge of other dogs, use my dog as a plaything for their dog, or to share my time with their dog. In the case of home-boarded dogs, I am paid to spend time with them and I take that very seriously. Nobody pays me to not focus on their dog when walking. I may say hello to people on my way around the fields, but that is generally it. I prefer to focus on my dog(s) and keep them out of trouble. So far, it has worked very well for me.

A few nights ago I was walking Ellie along the local fields. They are farm fields and go on for miles. We were happily playing ball when suddenly I felt a German Shepherd Dog around my legs. The owner, a Polish woman who I have encountered before when her GSD kept perstering Ellie, seemed to make no attempt to do anything. I continued to walk as I always do. (Again, I will not alter my plans for another dog and dog owner.) A few minutes later, I turned around, ready to show my disgust at the dog-owner, to find that she had vanished. Just walked off. The GSD pestered us for at least ten minutes along quite a distance. By this time, I had believed that the owner had left her dog and I was beginning to formulate my plan for an exit. How was I going to get both dogs to my house with only one leash for a start? I just knew that I couldn't leave it alone in a field.

After about fifteen minutes I saw a dot on the horizon. The owner had finally made an appearance. I watched as the GSD went running back to her. Was she delighted to be reuinited with her dog? Was she pleased that, despite everything, her dog went back to her in the end? If she was either of these things, she hid it very well. I was forced to watch from the distance as she forced the dog to the ground, beat it twice with her hand, and then whipped it with the leash several times. It stunned me that I could hear the dog yelping from the mammoth distance that was between me and them. To be honest, I wish she had never returned and that I'd taken the dog home with me...

1 comment:

Owner of Storm and Jackal said...

Oh no! That is outrageous!! Why did she beat the dog? He ran to her. People are so stupid!

Poor Ellie. I have heard the sound those things make and I'm not surprised it scared her. It would probably scare my pups too.

Hmmm . . . now I want to barbecue . . .