…post-lockdown freedom may be great for humans, but its even better for dogs.
…post-lockdown freedom may be great for humans, but its even better for dogs.
Weather has been unusually fine of late, so plenty of Spring chores in the garden have taken our time, but we took the opportunity this morning to take Ed for a walk in a nearby park that he loves. Usually we follow the paths through the gardens and around the woods and fishing pool, but this morning adventure is in the air- we find a trail leading off into the woods. Ed takes to this new territory with relish – he takes the lead and dashes ahead exploring the territory, as if he’s the first dog to ever follow this trail through a wilderness winding through the trees (well, its certainly a first for him, which is all that matters). He takes us up one pathway that leads through the trees and then winds down to a woodland pond, where two ducks on the opposite bank regard him with suspicion before wisely waddling off to the safety of the centre of the pond. A grey squirrel hasn’t been paying attention and leaps up startled when Ed sniffs in his direction; Ed suddenly yanks me on his lead as he dashes in vain pursuit until I pull him back in. I do wonder if Ed thinks he can also clamber up trees like a squirrel given enough of a run-up. Undeterred at me spoiling his fun, Ed finds a trail on that opposite side that winds up a grassy bank up into the trees, and we are off again…
This afternoon having gotten home and had lunch, we resume our chores in the back garden tidying up the patio (hopefully for a lazy summer chilling with books etc. but you know, English summer = plenty of rain, its like we never learn). Ed stretches out on the grass looking at us as if we are fools- its obviously far too warm for any such exertions.
He decides that its time for a doze on the cool grass. Its a dogs life.
Took Ed to the vets today for his annual booster. He was as nervous as ever, which only made us all the more anxious about what most dog owners treat a routine visit. Not that Covid restrictions helped, its turning everything into something out of a biological disaster movie; you have to call from the carpark to gain entry, three pets in the premises at any one time, one owner per pet, distances dictated on the floor; I don’t think I will ever get used to wearing a mask and must confess to being curious why dog’s don’t even seem to notice. Ed of course was eager to get in there but terrified once he realised where ‘there’ was, and as usual turned a quick injection into a bit of a drama. Terrified terriers can be such charmingly endearing wimps.
Anyway, as a reward/apology to Ed, on our way home we took him to a local park. Shrouded in an Autumnal fog that refused to fade away, it resulted in a damp, cold and moodily atmospheric walk that felt a very different landscape to the walks of the past. Everything seemed to fade quickly to grey in the middle-distance, lost in murk, the world suddenly very small around us, and strangely quiet too. I was quite entranced by the spectral trees, branches bare of leaves reaching up into the sky and fading away in the mist, and took this quick snap with my phone.
But Ed isn’t impressed. Every year he watches us put up the Christmas tree with abject horror. I suppose most dogs are creatures of habit and routine, and Ed is no exception. I’m pretty certain he thinks our home is his kennel, basically, and he prefers things left as they should be- he certainly doesn’t appreciate his owners suddenly erecting a tree blocking his view through the window. Well, what’s a dog to do other than sulk? Ed can sulk like a champion, especially when his Christmas telly is ruined.
Ah, well a bit of explanation is in order about Ed and the window. He is obsessed with it- I don’t know, maybe its a Terrier thing, because he seems to be all territorial with everything beyond the window. We’re lucky, we have a field outside our front window, so that we overlook a central green of fields and pathways, which affords a really nice view of the seasons changing and people walking their dogs to and fro – naturally Ed knows most of them from encounters on our walks, he gets along famously with some, gets along less so with others. The ones he doesn’t get along with so well… well, Ed treats the fields as his own private space, naturally, and tells any miscreants off with passionate wild barks. Boy, Westies can bark (after two King Charles Cavaliers, its something of a culture shock).
We’ve taken to calling the window Ed’s television: we open the blinds in the morning and tell Ed his breakfast telly show is on, and he leaps up onto the sofa and surveys his territory eagerly… and if he goes too wild barking at some nuisance collie or huskie (two breeds he has a particular disgust at) we threaten him that we’ll switch his telly off and close the blinds. “Thats it! Telly’s off!” we’ll declare, shutting the blinds. Very often when I pop downstairs from working in the backroom and I see Ed still sitting in his usual attentive position looking out the window, I ask him if its just another repeat show (dog-walkers are creatures of habit too, and very often you could set your clock by them walking first one way, then back twenty minutes later) and late in the evening I’ll tell him its time for closedown as I close the blinds for the night. I don’t know. Maybe we’re going a little bit crazy.
Alas, we’ve gone and put up our Christmas tree today, blocking most of Ed’s usual television screen. Hence the sulk. Hopefully he doesn’t pull it down overnight…
Ed hates the long dark nights, nothing else to do other than watch the telly. But all those channels on the cable, yet no Dog TV? There’s nothing quite like the long, drawn-out sigh of a despondent Westie. Sort out Streaming For Pets, pronto. There’s only so many times a dog can watch Blade Runner.
After many years owning King Charles Cavaliers, I can only assume that Ed’s fascination-closing-on-obsession for hunting for squirrels when we are walking him in local parks is simply a Terrier thing (there are LOTS of ‘Terrier things’ as I have come to learn, all kinds of causes of endearment and amused frustration). The squirrels really don’t seem to mind- like cats, they seem to treat Ed with bored indifference, the grey rascals racing to the nearest tree and up into the leafy heights with nonchalant grace. Unfortunately as I’ve always got Ed on the lead, when he suddenly dashes off after his quarry he yanks at me so hard its caused me some shoulder injury when I’m walking one way and my arm is suddenly pulled some other (more important, as far as Ed is concerned) direction.
Yesterday afternoon’s walk resulted in a grand total of seven squirrel sightings, which seemed to thrill Ed no end, even though he as usual got nowhere near them (if indeed God loves a trier then Ed has a special place in His affection). As a bonus Ed did spot a few cats on the walk to and from the park, but cats seem to treat leashed Westies with even more casual ignorance than squirrels do. Most of the feline fiends just sit there watching him go by (Ed often being dragged away by me, ‘natch), and Ed does his best to intimidate them with growls/barks and impressively threatening body language, but all to no avail. Cats are smart; they seem to know when a dog is on a lead and besides, they often know he’s hardly going to swing open a garden gate or leap over that hedge. And I suspect if ever Ed did catch up with a feline quarry, he’d come off the worst from such an encounter, so its perhaps just as well.
Its funny how terriers seem to represent all those characteristics of old tales of dogs. Can’t really say my Cavillers Barney or Ben were really perturbed by our postie, but Ed goes berserk whenever he observes the postie’s temerity of walking down our street -or worse, actually daring to walk up to our front door. All those Beano and Dandy comics I used to read as a kid, depicting dogs chasing posties or pulling letters out the letterbox, or barking after cats etc- turns out it was all true; not all dogs, it seems, are as chilled-out King Charles Cavillers.
And yet, considering all the bravo and bluster that Ed demonstrates, the slightest crack of a distant firework sends him racing over to me to be picked up for the apparent rescue/safety of my arms, the trembling hairy wimp. Yes we’re really looking forward to Halloween/Firework season this Autumn.
Apologies for the poor image quality illustrating this post, taken in fairly poor light on my phone its a wonder there is anything recognisable of my Westie at all- as far as Ed is concerned, when squirrels are abroad, posing for photographs is not at all important).
How time flies! Our Westie, Eddie, is four years old today. He had a great day today- Covid may have put a halt to his birthday party plans – so no Milo, Dizzy, Sulass, Buffy, Bailey, Beau, Sparky, Gracie, Logan, Lucy, Bonnie, Winnie, Diesel, Oscar, Dexter, Poppy, Harry, Minnie, Charlie, Coolie, Billy, Alfie, Blue and Dave, new girl Coco (…yeah he knows lots of dogs on the walk, he’s definitely more popular than I am)- so instead we took him out for an afternoon walk somewhere new; Northycote Farm, which isn’t at all far from home but is a surprisingly large woodland walk considering its hiding away within an urban conurbation. No doubt a future frequent destination, because it was really nice and Ed loved it. Better still, it was a nice warm sunny day, more like July or August than mid-September- very lucky, considering the weather forecasts reckon a cold turn arrives tomorrow after some rain tonight. So a long afternoon walk somewhere new, with lots of new smells and people to get fussed by, plenty of treats at mealtimes and two new cuddly toys to play with. As birthdays go, Ed’s got me beat.
Lets start the week with a pic of Eddie chilling in the garden. Looks like he’s got another haircut due…
(just checked- he’s booked in for August 12th. Westies are High Maintenance).
There’s nothing else to do after a morning walk mixing with the usual doggie crowd on the field than to go out the back and chill out on the grass (hmm, needs a cut), grabbing a wee bit more sunshine in the process.
A week ahead of schedule – in yer face, Covid19- Ed gets his overdue grooming session and looks cute and tidy again. So good in fact I think it deserves a second photograph. He certainly looks smarter than I do, I’m well past my grooming date (years past according to my wife, but hey ho at least I can resort to my astonishingly winning personality… I’ll, er, go get my coat….).