Tuesday, 25th July 2017 – in and around Houston and Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire.
I decided to re-decorate my ‘office’ with a predominately blue sky today.
Sumo wrestling bulls in rural Renfrewshire, Scotland:
(The black bull won, when after about ten minutes of shove and counter-shove, it pushed the white one into the hedge. The youngsters gathered around the victor in obvious celebration, while the vanquished acted as if it really didn’t care, casually walking off whilst whistling to himself, to stand alone in the centre of the field.)
My first book, ‘DAMP DOGS & RABBIT WEE,’ an amusing & compassionate look at the life of a dog-walker, is ON SALE at Amazon UK for only 99p until 20th July.
(It’s a light, fun read, ideal for those long, lazy UK summer evenings in front of a roaring log fire.)
Today, 30th April 2017, LEADING PETCARE celebrates its 10th Anniversary! (Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me … etc, etc.)
Don’t worry – there will be no tedious speeches or screeds of acknowledgements.
Instead, here are a few random numbers and their significance to the business:
520: weeks that Leading Petcare has been operating.
3640: days that Leading Petcare has been operating.
2,600: ‘dog walking’ days – (generally no walks at weekends.)
105: total holiday days taken over the ten year period (including public holidays.)
0: sick days.
7: (conservative) average number of miles walked per day.
18,200: number of miles walked with dogs since inception.
168: different customers (core 27 been with Leading Petcare for 5 years or more.)
104: different dogs walked.
61: different cats looked after.
18: pairs of walking boots used.
31: pairs of wellies used.
1: number of books written. (‘Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee‘ – available in paperback and Kindle versions via all Amazon outlets!
Now – where’s that bottle of fizz?!
Each of our last seven holidays have been spent in South Goa, India. We kinda like it there. You may have guessed.
One of the many reasons we look forward to our annual sojourn is the wide, open, quiet and expansive beach we have just a short three hundred metre walk from our hotel. I say ‘quiet,’ in the context of there being not many tourists. Humans.
There are, however, several small groups of dogs, each little pack having a strictly defined territory, centred around the various ‘shacks’ (bars ‘ restaurants) dotted along the sands.
It’s fascinating to see them identify a potential intruder and rise from the shade of a sunbed where they were sheltering and more than likely being fed by patrons of that particular shack, and race out into the open space to drive them away. They are, however, acutely aware of the ‘line in the sand,’ where their territory ends, and the brakes are quickly applied as they approach it.
Within each pack, there is generally harmony.Although us tourists are not encouraged to feed them – there is still a definite rabies risk in India, Goa included – we do, and the dogs seem to recognise there is plenty for all.
Where you do see aggression, other than in territorial disputes, is when a bitch is in season. Virtually all dogs on the beach are strays, often born of beach-dogs themselves. They are ‘entire,’ and when a male gets the urge, then that’s when it all kicks off!
Poor wee Patch (our name for her.) She had a number suitors that followed her relentlessly for a few days. She fought off many approaches but was completely exhausted in doing so. The males would jealously fight each other for the opportunity to mate with her. This obviously caused a bit of alarm to those visiting the beach to enjoy the sun, beer and food.
Enter Sue and Phil, two of our friends. They successfully managed to separate wee Patch from the others and offer the solace of their sunbed whilst I stood guard, ready to chase away the amorous, or rather, randy, males as they approached.
After a couple hours deep sleep, we fed Patch and she then toddled off onto the deserted sands. The males had long since acknowledged the futility of their attempts on this particular day and had retired to the shelter of the palm trees.
It wasn’t long, though, before they picked up on Patch’s scent and it seemed to be that with an air of resignation, wee Patch reluctantly accepted the advances of one of the group.
We fully expect to see some interesting looking puppies next January!
There was one little puppy by our shack this year, and it was so lovely to see him be allowed to take his first steps away from the sanctuary of his shelter. Gradually, over the space of three days, and under the watchful eyes of his mum and dad, the little ‘un padded first along the skirting of the beach, then on the back edge, where he was still close to his home, and then finally onto the open expanse of the beach itself.
This is the short video of that first big adventure.
Roll on January 2018!
Had the first of today’s lunch-time packs spent just thirty seconds less mooching around the varied smells of the Renfrewshire countryside, then, on a blind corner, we would have come head-to-head with this ….
It’s in their nature, I guess, but I had to diplomatically explain to Harry, Buddy, Molly, Murphy and Dougal (golden lab, Jack Russell, Jack Russell and border terrier respectively) that if they really wanted to confront the pack of twenty foxhounds, it would only end in tears.