I may have written about our parttime dog before. I'm too lazy to look through the archives to see if I have. Parttime dog, also known as Marley, came into our lives purely by coincidence. About a year ago I was sitting in my conservatory and spotted what looked like a Golden Retriever in my garden. I often get cats in my garden, but not dogs. And as I live on a busy main road, a dog on the loose is not a good idea. He was very friendly and easy to catch, and I had a hunch he belonged to one of my neighbours. I didn't really know her though and another neighbour of mine does, so I took the dog round to hers and her first response was 'he's got so fat!'. The dog's owner broke her hip and wrist a few years ago and now she can't really walk him anymore, as he pulled quite badly on the lead. Neighbour plus dog who wants a walk, us with no dog but often going for walks after supper, you can see where this is going can't you? I knocked on her door one evening and explained who I was, and could we walk her dog?
That must have been about a year ago. Marley lost a lot of weight in those early months and we found more and more walks in our neighbourhood. To start off with he wasn't allowed off the lead for fear of him running off (I couldn't think of anything worse than going back to my neighbour to tell her we'd lost her dog...), but he's a Collie cross Golden Retriever and very obedient. He does go ahead of us but likes to keep us in sight, and if he can't see us, he'll come back until he can. He's learnt to sit, he's learnt not to pull on the lead (although he finds that one a bit hard when he is all excited about going for a walk!), I'm trying to teach him to take dog biscuits without eating my fingers as well, and he's learning to sit before we cross the road. It has worked out so well - we have the pleasure of a dog without having to commit to it full time, the neighbour is happy and the dog is happy.
As the clocks went forward last weekend, the evenings are a bit longer again and so we (or rather, me, as almost 13yo and almost 10yo need a little coaxing these days!) hope to walk more often again. Last night was my first evening walk of this year. Fancy coming along? Go on then, put your walking shoes on and we'll be off.
We get to a stile and gate...
'What? O, alright then, I'd better come back hadn't I?'
And on again into the next field. Marley knows where he is heading now, even though we have only walked this path a few times as it's new.
And we're on the green. You can see my house in the distance - the little white cottage. The house on the right is another grande one and used to be a hotel. Now it's a privately owned house with a lovely garden.
And we're back home. I hope you enjoyed the walk and that your feet aren't too sore. I'm sure Marley is looking forward to a drink and a good long rest!