It’s a dog’s life

Brian explores the woods.

I’ve been in Bolton this week.  It’s week eleven of Ellie’s chemo treatment.  Five more to go.  This type of chemotherapy works in three week cycles, and week one each time is usually particularly tough.  So I went over to do a few in loco parentis duties.

Extracting the boys from their beds in the morning, and re-inserting them there at a reasonable time each night count as challenging tasks. Ben doesn’t do mornings.  All the other household stuff I can take in my stride.

There’s just one task that was never part of my life before this year.  Walking Brian, who’s no longer a puppy, but not exactly a mature and restrained adult dog either. I don’t think I’ll ever be a real dog fan, but I did enjoy being exercised by this particularly amiable and boisterous dalmatian.  Where to go?  Through the woods and round the reservoir?  Yes please! Or across the extensive parkland just over the way there?  Yes please!  And can we go, NOW?  Can’t wait!

Go Brian!

Two hours might mean four or five miles to me, but ten or more to him as he dashes ahead, back and forth.  There are grasses and herbs to nibble; a river to ford; interesting smells to investigate.  There are regular doggie chums to greet, and others whom he’s never met.  Will they want to play?  Brian hopes so.  He surges up the steep paths beside the river bank.  He leaps into muddy pools.  He fords the river – once, twice. He looks for branches to lug about for a while.  And he sprints, zooms, bolts and bounds ahead, back, east and west.  His joie de vivre is infectious.

Once home, he flops gratefully down, pleased to be left alone to doze for a while.  It’s a dog’s life.

45 thoughts on “It’s a dog’s life”

  1. I wonder if you’re beginning to discover that walking with a dog is a life enhancing experience? For me it lifts the spirit, makes me laugh and provides the ideal opportunity to talk to strangers. Our dogs however do not lie down to doze when they get home because there’s always more to do. We hope Ellie is progressing well x

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    1. I’m happy to borrow a dog from time to time, but having one permanently at home? Not a chance. I can’t stand the smell of dog for a start. But you’re right: the dog walking fraternity is entertaining. Ellie is at least on the home run, so we’re looking forward to the end now x


  2. Love to you all. We had a dalmation when I was a child. He was the most loyal and lovely dog ever, but he went a bit odd and became over protective of the family. So sad. Enjoy the walks, he will keep you all in a routine which is what you need amidst the drama. xx

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  3. Oh how I LOVE that post….. I always said I would like to be my dog!!!
    Dalmations are eternal babies/children…. They – like dachshunds – never grow up – so be best prepared for more kids’ play!
    Thinking of you and Ellie and wishing her strength, courage, joy and health. You are a brave mum too and she is a strong, brave daughter/mom.

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      1. …. and the beauty of it all is that you can and even may spoil a dog, whereas with children one needs to be a tad more careful 🙂
        And yep, kids make us ‘old’ dogs keep us young. You nailed it!

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  4. Thank you for sharing that joyful walk! Dogs do it best, don’t they? I’ve been out of circulation for a while, so have much catching up to do. I’m sorry to see chemo is part of your family’s life at the moment and wish the best for everyone.

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  5. Lovely blog Margaret. It reminded me that we once looked after a dalmatian for over six months. He was a boisterous puppy when we began our guardianship and an equally boisterous dog when he left. During his stay, he ate over a dozen bantam eggs (complete with shells) that were on the kitchen worktop and the bottom layer of a one pound box of Black Magic. We took him to the vets after the chocolate incident and the vet, observing him careering round her consulting room asked, ‘Is he normally like this?’. ‘Yes’ we replied and he was given a clean bill of health. It became evident later that he was deaf, apparently fairly common in dalmatians. He’s still just as crackers…

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      1. Sorry, I meant to write ‘selective hearing’…. same effect!
        And yes, my own dog was getting quite deaf by the end of her long life…. And the nose went too…. and other things….. It was quite funny that – after 18yrs of her running and being all over the place when food was involved – I then had to not only rattle her bowl with food but even hold it under her nose so that she knew it’s goodie-time 🙂

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  6. One of our neighbours is a Dalmation. His human house sitters often seem to struggle to keep up. For quite a while we thought he was called NoMilo (this joke went down like a doggy fart when we shared it with them). Best wishes to Ellie and the family. Lx

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      1. Our cats always look like outraged spinsters who’ve had their bottoms pinched when a dog comes on their territory. (No disrespect to spinsters, I’ve been reading too many period novels.)

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      2. 🙂 Not only that but they don’t let themselves get bossed about like all our dogs did….. I’m myself more of a dog type, I like my peace and am able to give in, cats never accept a ‘higher’ order. Aaah, this all makes me miss even more not being able to have ‘my’ dog now in my life (couldn’t give it the time as I’m often away and have no good neighbours to take care of the pet)

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      1. Kiki, I think I’m more of a cat person. I admire their disdain for us, their unwillingness to dance to our tune. But a dog’s affection is very heart-warming.


  7. We live in a building which does not permit pets. One of our neighbours remarked to us that she like to go to her “happy place” – the dog off leash area at Spanish Banks. While we have started referring to it by her name, it does seem that one of the highlights of our walks is when some stranger dog wanders up to us, usually for just a sniff. Sometimes they want a scratch behind the ears too. Maybe the best kind of dogs are those that you don’t have take care of all the time!


  8. I like dogs a lot, though I don’t want to own one. I wish I could borrow one, every day, though, to take me on a nice long walk! It’s a perfect excuse to walk away from the house, the realities of grieving and chemo and fear, and just laugh at the silly dog’s antics for a bit.

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  9. I am so pleased to see that Ellie only has a few more weeks of chemo. I like some dogs but would not like to have one of my own! We are surrounded here by dog-owning neighbours who think us strange to not want to have one.

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