Each time I go to visit my baby girl, Bronwen and her family, I drive through a little ‘village’ – Pontrhydyfen – famous, actually, as being the birthplace of Richard Burton, amongst others.
Yesterday, I was again driving through this village and saw, as I often do, three Basset Hounds out for one of their constitutionals. Early evening, there they were again, this time with someone else at the end of their leads. This led (sorry!) to me wondering who, actually, ‘owned’ who. Both times, here they were, out walking in typical Welsh wet rain. And, as only Basset Hounds can, looking so miserably soulful but probably joyous that here they were, in control again…
How jealous am I of those privileged to share their lives with these three dogs!
As kids, our mother allowed us to have a couple of pets. Two, actually. A goldfish – until it died. And a budgerigar, until it, too, fell of its perch. Mum had always been rather scared of animals and had taught us to cross the road if we saw a dog on the same side as us. Surprising as her parents had met at work in Sonning, where her Dad was a farrier and her mother a harness and saddle maker.
On arriving in South Africa, I very quickly had to get used to wildlife. When we had Bronwen, I felt strongly that I didn’t want my children growing up with the same fear of animals that I had – I used to refuse to even think about going to bed as a child if there was as much as a spider or moth in my room!
So, Cleo, a middle-aged Bull Terrier was rescued from the SPCA and became our family friend. Unfortunately she was able to jump six-foot fences and walls to wander the neighbourhood at will. Quite dangerous for a dog, when there is a rabies scare on, and they could be taken to the pound to be put down. So Cleo was found a more secure home.
Cleo was just the first of a string of dogs that we have been privileged to share our lives with, each with their own individual character and quirks. All bringing joy to us, and, I’d like to think, we brought a little joy to them.
There is nothing like having a dog to share your life with. They ask so little of us and give us so much. A feeling of being loved and needed, seemingly hanging on our every word as if we really matter to them. We can talk to them, cry with them, play with them, tease them, meet their needs and laugh at their antics. A bit like children, really…
So, I feel really jealous of all the people I see out with their dogs enjoying their day. And I know, that as a responsible (?) adult, I do not have the right to take all that a dog has to offer, when I am not able to fully share my life and be there for them when I go off to work at 6.15 and only get home again 14 hours later at the end of my shift. Yes, I have a secure garden, somewhere warm and cosy for them to be able to go when I’m out, without shutting them up in the house all day, but would that be fair? I wouldn’t want that for me, so how can I do that to a dog. Or dogs.
So I will carry on with my habit of greeting most dogs, enjoying them as I can, and wait for the day when I’m no longer running around all over the place all the time to have another friend of my own…
Please share stories of your favourite dog-friend with us – we’d love a gallery of them all for us all to enjoy!