It has been suggested that walking the dog is a therapeutic, pleasurable pastime that keeps you fit, active and mentally alert… what a crock of sh*t… what a load of old b*llocks.
It’s highly overrated, it’s time consuming, infuriating, and at times downright dangerous. On a cold, wet and very windy day like today I can think of a thousand things I’d rather be doing, like maybe going into hibernation until the warmer weather finally arrives and stays for more than a couple of days.
Needs must however because of the definite shortage of space in the house and no garden or patio space. The dogs need to relieve themselves. To this end they, all nine of them, get three or four walks a day. Not too bad when Summer is home to help out but at the moment she is on one of her flying visits to the UK.So it’s just down to me…
Walking the dogs then takes on a whole new meaning; they are all to some extent ex-street dogs. The alpha female, Izzy, and her mate Leo are the undisputed queen and king of the pack (Cesar Millan would have you believe that the human is supposed to be the pack leader… another load of old tosh!)
If I want them to do something, they will consider all the options before committing to a decision; if they want to do whatever I suggest then fair enough but if after due consideration they decide that its not such a great idea, then there is no power on earth that will make them change their mind. Going out in the cold is not a good idea… going out in the wind is not a good idea, going out in the rain is definitely not a good idea. Going out in a combination of all three? Forget it!
In any event the logistics of actually walking the dogs on my own three or four times a day, would take up every minute of the day, so when faced with the situation for the first time a year ago I hit upon the idea of taking them out in groups.
Group One is Izzy, a mature greyhound bitch, Leo a mature Saluki male, Sox a mature Podenca bitch, Suzy another Podenca bitch though not so mature in years, and Fred an immature Pod / galgo cross. All are extremely strong dogs, (Sox really should be nicknamed Scania, Suzy could be Iveco and Fred probably should be called Volvo), Izzy and Leo are normally pretty docile on the lead, just pootling along like a couple of Nissan Micra’s until a cat appears on the scene then its instant Porsche time…)
Group Two is Spike and Scruffy... these are the two reprobates that put Summer in hospital last April with a busted hip necessitating an emergency operation to fit an artificial one, daily shots of Heparin, a lot of post op discomfort, six months of recuperation and an embarrassing scene whenever she goes through a metal detector screen at the airport. Spike and Scruffy are constantly on the go when on the lead, everything needs investigation, sniffing and sampling (anything goes no matter how disgusting).
Group Three is Pippa and Sophie… most of the time you wouldn’t even know Pippa is there; her lead is normally slack and she is right there at heel. Sophie however is a lot like Spike and Scruffy checking out everything, usually at the full extent of her lead.
From that you can see that although the dogs get three or four walks a day, I actually get nine or twelve… I hadn’t actually thought about it much until a couple of weeks ago when on a cold wet night similar to today in fact it occurred to me that since the first of January this year the dogs have each had over three hundred walks and I have over nine hundred. It’s no wonder the soles of my trainers are like racing slicks! Each group on each walk gets around thirty minutes of exercise. Izzy and Leo, like the 40mph couch potatoes that they are, get some free-running exercises in a nearby abandoned enclosed basketball / five a side football / tennis court. I’d love to be able to let them run free together outside of the confines of the court, but there is too much risk from traffic on a road that cuts through the area and far too much risk of a chance encounter with a flock of sheep or goats (the two hounds don’t have a good track record where four legged wildlife is concerned…).
So there it is… rant over! There is a picture below that I found on Google Maps for where we live… this is actually me, walking the dogs, back in the day when we had just three…
Aah... The good old days...!