You ain’t no friend of mine

Arty off the lead on a previous walk…

The dogs are making enough noise to wake the neighbours.

One starts howling and the other is barking incessantly. It’s walkies time and, girl, do they know it.

Unlike my previous blogging platform, the Google-owned Blogger, it appears that I can’t simply upload a video to this website without paying WordPress extra, which seems a bit harsh. Instead, I’ll refer you to my Instagram page and you can hear the little buggers darlings there.

We’re off early out in the fields and up the hill, an easy enough jaunt now that the farmers have obligingly cut and cleared the grass for silage.

As usual, I keep young Ruby on a lead but Artemis, the older one, is pretty good. She’s skipped on ahead but I know she’ll come back when I call her. She’s got arthritis in one of her back legs which restricts her speed somewhat.

And then she turns around and shoots by me like a racehorse on speed. I have never seen her move so fast. She flies through the field and into the one we’ve just come through and roots around the hedge like a snuffling badger. I call and whistle to her but it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference.

So, with Ruby in tow, I turn around to find out what all the fuss is about. Arty has her head down and is eating something. I’m carrying a bag of dog poo so I throw it at her as a distraction.

It misses and she shoots past me with a freshly-caught rabbit in her mouth. She zooms up into the big, wide open space of the biggest silage field, well out of my reach. I pick up the poo bag, turn around and try to catch her. It’s no good, she’s not interested and heads off every time I get close until she has devoured the rabbit in its entirety.

And then she comes when I call her, licking her lips. I can’t be too cross because she won’t know what I’m cross about – although I’m sure she does know. I put her on the lead and think about abandoning my head-in-the-clouds walk around the hilltop. But I know that if I do, I’ll be angry all day.

So with a dog on each arm, as if I’m a canine cross-country skier, I head for the hill and try to breathe in the beauty and serenity to calm myself down. It does the trick, even though I refuse to let Arty off on the entire journey back.

When I get back, I give Ruby her dental chew but I don’t give one to Arty because she’s been so naughty. I love my dogs but there are times when I absolutely hate them. Arty gazes at me through her fringe with the intense stare of a gorilla. I think the feeling is mutual.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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