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Love Dogs Eileen West

Every empty dog bed has a furry lining

First, the bad news.  It was only a matter of time until the downside of ‘Love dogs’ made itself apparent to me.  My friends did warn me about this particular aspect but I guffawed in their faces.  Alas, they know me all too well.

It was the end of their holiday for Dana the lurcher and Bronach the border terrier and  I volunteered to walk my weekend wards the couple of miles home.  A loving welcome greeted both parties, the humans had a cup of tea, the dogs had a biscuit and it was time for me to return home.  Bearing in mind I still had four dogs at my feet and Dana and Bronach had been with me for only four days it was still a heart wrenching moment.  I genuinely missed having Dana’s stately head to rest my hand on as we walked and Bronach’s impish face look up at me when I whispered his name.

I must try not to get so emotionally attached to my guests, but I suspect it will be an ongoing occupational hazard.  Sigh.

Now, the good news.  Dana and Bronach are returning.  Yippee.  Their mum called today to ask if they could come back for one night at a later date.  Every empty dog bed has a furry lining!

I’ll have extra company on my run again.  Finty, my red and white collie always runs with me and Dana joined us last weekend.  A lurcher, her particular cross is greyhound, bearded collie and border collie giving her three admirable attributes: speed, a lovely coat and a quiet wisdom.

There is a wonderful piece of verse in The Book of St.  Albans from 1486, (Cambridge History of English and American literature) the hunting portion of which is all in verse, laying down the standard for a Greyhound.

“A Greyhoun should be headed like a Snake,
An necked like a Drake,
Footed like a Cat,
Tayled like a Rat,
Syded like a Team,
Chyned like a Beam.!”

(Syded: side.  Team: two or more horses or oxen harnessed together.  Chyned: backboned).

I might have preferred the similarities to be a little more flattering but Dana does fit the bill.  She must have found my gentle plod tiresome but she trotted happily alongside me while Finty blazed the trail ahead.  Fortunately, no deer popped out unexpectedly from the hedgerows otherwise I would have been spotted cartoonishly flying in Dana’s wake around the countryside.

Alas, dear Bronach, my run would be interrupted every two strides by your need to mark each blade of grass and fleck of gravel with your scent.  And we don’t want to wear your little legs down even further now do we?  Four hours of walking per day will suffice.

Talking of which, come on girls let’s go.  One, two, three, four … all present and correct.

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