When Tiddles was having his introductory talk at the RSPCA, the boss said that he’d be walking the dogs as part of his daily routine. They have a policy of ensuring that every dog is walked at least once a day, preferably twice, even if it’s only for five minutes and five minutes’ play in the compound. It’s such a time consuming task that they rely on volunteers to help out and give the dogs that bit more attention. Although not a dog lover by any means, I took myself straight to reception and filled out a volunteer form.
The RSPCA is a short drive from home through pleasant countryside. To become a dog walker provides three opportunities. It gives Smudgelet the experience of the company of dogs without the inconvenience of us having one (which I am not doing under any circumstances – troublesome, noisy, smelly things that they are!). It gives me the chance to do something worthwhile in my week. And best of all, it’s the perfect way of motivating myself to get a bit more fresh air (fresh?) and exercise.
On Tuesday I had my induction where they showed us the route we have to take (a bit monotonous to have to stick to the same way round the same circular walk all the time, but it’s through a lovely bit of wooded land so it could be far worse), where the enclosures are where we can play with them off the lead, what the rules are for dog walking, and how to pick up poop! We took Barney on three laps of the walk, the RSPCA chappy accompanying us for the first walk and then doing two laps on our own. I managed to escape needing surgery to relocate my shoulder blades, but only just. Barney’s strong! He’s lovely, though, and well trained, and by the last lap was walking nicely by my side instead of dragging me round from sniffing post to sniffing post. The funniest thing was, when we took him in the enclosure to let him off the lead, after him pulling me at high speed round the walk, he became calm and sedate and not the least bit interested in playing or running. Not until we got his lead back on and were back on the track….
(Not a good picture as Smudgelet is too young to be allowed to hold the lead and wanted to be in the photo)
Then yesterday, in torrential rain, we arrived just a little later than planned so had to do two short walks, first with Barney again and then with the most endearing (if strong!) little fellow called Paddy. He was so full of fun and energy that we intend to get there earlier today and try to get time to play as well as walk. He loved a fuss, too, but the word “walk” wasn’t in his vocabulary. In the end I gave up and jogged alongside him – the most exercise I’ve had in days!
Do you get the impression I’m rather enjoying being a dog walker?