Our immediate neighbours know that I walk Henry twice a week, and during a neighbourly chat one day, it cropped up in the conversation that their daughter was going on holiday and was going to put her much beloved dog “Daisy” a 12 month old Labradoodle into kennels for just over two weeks, while they went on holiday. My ears pricked up, exercise, lose weight came into my thought pattern, I offered my services, knowing how I hate the thought of dogs in kennels (and thinking about poor Rolfe, the police dog puppy I walked, please read the very long blog if you have not done already), my offer was accepted.
Their daughter, came to see me with Daisy one afternoon, a couple of weeks before they went, and the three of us went for a walk so that I could get to know Daisy and she me. Not having used a tennis ball thrower before, I did need some training, as although not technical, there is a knack to it, as my first couple of efforts, the ball ended up hitting a tree and then we had no idea where it came to rest. Daisy, however did not let me down, and was determined to find it, and she saved the day.
We got on fine and Daisy arrived a couple of weeks later on the 1st September 2011, complete with dog cage, toys, food, brushes, balls, ball thrower, lead, harness, stake for putting into the ground to attach the lead to, pooh bags, dog treats, ear spray, folding water bowl, whistle, soft toys (I hasten to add not dog soft toys, but actual children’s toys, and one in particular which Daisy had had since she was a puppy was almost as big as her now, and had to sleep with her in her cage), I think I have included everything!!!!
As her cage (which was used purely for sleeping) we placed in the kitchen (although at her home, her owners have it in their bedroom), we were not keen on that idea, so Daisy had to get used to being on her own at night. Now she particularly loves human company and hates being on her own, so the first couple of nights were a bit of a shock to her system and she did let me know . She barked, and then howled like a wolf for a few minutes every so often, just in protest of being on her own. .She obviously thought, the more noise she made, I would come downstairs, but having been there before with Rolfe, I was not going to give in, and she would have to get used to it, so after about an hour, she quietened down and went to sleep until I came down in the morning. It happened again the second night, but not for quite so long, and from then on for the rest of the time, I never heard a peep out of her at night, she obviously got the message!!!
She does however live in a bungalow, so stairs were a great game with her, and a few times she found the bedrooms and decided that lying on beds was so much more comfortable than the cage!!
Well, Rolfe was full of beans and needed a lot of exercise, but Daisy took the biscuit. I realised that the tennis ball thrower was an absolute necessary piece of walking equipment, as just throwing the ball was not enough to tire her out. With the thrower I could launch the ball a lot longer, enabling her to run further, and as long as I launched a ball, she would fetch it. It did wonders for my bingo wings, as every time she brought the ball back, I had to launch it again. We have a little area of Dartmoor within walking distance of our house, and at this time of year is in full bloom with ferns, gorse etc so as my aim of the ball, was not that good, we lost quite a few balls (even though Daisy tried her hardest to find them). I got to a point where we lost the last ball that she came with, and I had to make a trip to Tesco to purchase some more, as there was no way that I could walk her without any tennis balls.
We even sat in the garden – hoping for a rest, but Daisy had other ideas, as the tennis ball was constantly laid at our feet, for it to be thrown (by hand, not the launcher in the garden, or else it could have ended up in the next town!!!) for her to run down the garden, to bring it back, to do it over and over again
She also absolutely loved water and at every opportunity went swimming. We also have the River Erme within walking distance, so she sampled that a few times. We also took her to the beach (and as she lives near a beach) made her feel at home. She came home smelling of sea water and seaweed, but she enjoyed it.
We also took her for a river walk at nearby Totnes. She threw herself off the bank into the river and was completely submerged for a few seconds. I did panic a little as I wondered if she would actually surface again, but she did and just kept on swimming. We walked back through the marshy wooded part along a stagnant, really smelly river, but Daisy still saw it as water, and promptly decided to have a another swim. Well we got back to the car, and were driving along, but the smell that filled the car was atrocious, and as soon as we got home, I had to walk her down to the river for yet another swim for her to hopefully wash out all the stagnant smelly water. Isn’t it amazing, that most dogs who love water and will swim in any that they come across, actually hate having water forced on them!!
Well for the 17 days that she was with us, we got to know her very well, and one of her characteristics was that instead of giving her paw (which is what most dogs do), Daisy gave a “high five”, using either paw, you had to see it to believe it!!
Sh had an awful lot of exercise and she certainly kept me fit, as I was exhausted every evening and was glad to sit down. She too seemed to like the evenings, as she loved coming up on the sofa for a cuddle (she is allowed to do this at her own house, so I was not letting her do anything she was not supposed to do).
Well her owners came to pick her up on the 18th September, and our house reverted back to normal – peace and quiet, and I could at last recharge my batteries after over 2 weeks of constant draining!!!