I have an elderly Spaniel called Gwyn and and a middle aged Choccie Lab called Welly. They don't get out enough and Welly's arse is getting quite big. This morning, in a haze of excited wagging, crying and jumping around, I managed to get my walking boots on (despite a Labrador helping), waterproof cecks, hi viz waterproof jacket and a cap. Yes, I looked like a boy. The good thing about dogs though is that they don't seem to care.
We wandered across the common land, plenty of road walking for nail filing purposes, but we found a rugby pitch that was fully enclosed. This is excellent as elderly Spaniel loves a little off lead bimble but due to his stone deafness it is generally too dodgy - he can't hear (or chooses not to) to come back. Despite this, he still managed to give me heart failure as he suddenly overcame his fear of kissing gates and headed on to the road. Welly thought this was an excellent game.
(Of course we did not go on the pitch, that's disrespectful, just around the very perimeter.)
We went up and down dale a bit, some nice puddles, saw some horses and stuff, was good.
I was very proud of myself, and then we get to about 200 yards away from our house and my stomach starts leaping about.
I can see someone, male, in the distance with a large dog. Not close, but close enough.
You see, 18 months ago we had been out celebrating my daughter's 18th birthday with family. We got home and as I was was having an especially hard time at that time, I decided to take my fur babies out for a late night walk.
I like to do this, it clears the mind before bed, it's cold (frosty at that time) and I find it really helps to settle a mind before bed. So off we go.
Just around the village, a couple of streets, it's quiet, crisp, peaceful. Feeling restored, we head home, panting dogs creating clouds of steam, we're all happy. And then I see them.
There's a dog. A big one. I think its's a Rottweiler. I love Rotties. And a man. So that's okay. Oh, the man appears to be intoxicated. A lot. And the dog not on a lead.
We've frozen by this time, unable to back track without attracting attention to ourselves. Too late, the dog has seen us. The man, too pissed to notice.
As the hound comes bounding closer it transpires that it has no collar on either. As it savages my Labrador I am screaming at the man to get his dog under control. It's 01:30, I'm screaming, the dog is relentless. There's blood. Amongst other things.
We had just moved in, less than a month. A new house, a new area, not through choice but due to the most extreme and difficult circumstances that unbeknown to me were going to get worse. I had no energy to engage in a fight with brand new (chav) street neighbours, no capacity to take them on like I normally would.
So I did nothing. I couldn't. I hate that.
And I just can't get over it. The dogs are missing out more than me, but I just can't get passed it.
I hate that.