I’m sure many of you will remember the late Barbara Woodhouse, the famous dog trainer whose catchphrase “walkies” has lived on.
Is there a dog owner who doesn’t use that phrase, I wonder?! Certainly all three of my dogs (the bearded collie cross, Gracie; the border collie, Mabel; and now Lady who is a border collie/flat coated retriever/chihuahua mix) all knew the meaning of the word and were/are keen fans of it!
Oh and how do we know about Lady’s ancestry? As we’ve owned collies before, we knew Lady’s coat wasn’t a collie one so we used one of the DNA tests you can get for a reasonable price over the internet. We sent back a swab (from Lady’s gum), and the results came back – 75% border collie, 12.5% lab/retriever (and we know flat coat as there are pure bred flat coated retrievers locally who have exactly the same coat), and 12.5% chihuahua.
That did come as a surprise. We had expected there to be some spaniel in Lady’s make up due to some of her behaviour when we first adopted her but no!
So back to walkies then and I was delighted to find the link here for walks in Hampshire. Hope fellow walkers, with or without a dog, find it useful!
One thing the lockdown has done for me is make me explore the local area much more and of course I can’t possibly do that on my own. Lady has to explore with me. She has loved the walks we’ve been on and we’ve discovered the joys of Cuckoo Bushes, walks around and to the Hiltingbury Lakes, and various routes to get to Hocombe Road, amongst others.
I’ve mentioned before I’ve enjoyed spotting the various painted stones in the area. Well done, everyone who did these. They are pretty and I always loved playing I-Spy as a kid, as I mentioned last week. Every walk I’ve been on I’ve spotted some of these and it’s been good to see new additions as well. I hope these stones stay in place once everything is back to whatever it is we are going to call normal.
I’ve also loved spotting rainbows in the form of paintings, chalk diagrams, and, in one case, a rainbow made from hardboard and attached on a rope to hang from a tree! I did compliment the owner of that. It’s a lovely piece of work.
But it has also been a delight to see the wildflower meadow back in full bloom at Hiltingbury Recreation Ground. I took the pictures earlier this week and it was a real pleasure to see the combination of colours and the likes of poppies “hiding” in amongst the other flowers. It is also nice that the netting which had been around this area has now been taken down as it makes it so much easier to appreciate the flowers (and to take reasonable photos of them too).
Life with Collies
I’ve enjoyed spotting a reasonable number of butterflies around (and am thankful Lady takes no notice of insects. Gracie did once get a bee inside her mouth, she always did hate the buzzing noise, she loathed those noisy motor scooters too for the same reason, but fortunately she opened her mouth again and out came a soggy bee which was no doubt relieved to fly off. Not as relieved as I was that it hadn’t stung Gracie, mind you!).
I’ve spotted some bees around but not enough for my liking. I can’t tell whether things are better in that department this year or not. I do know I’m not seeing as many bees as I used to, even five years ago.
Of course one great thing about a dog is they do make you exercise. When I’ve been in between dogs, much as I’ve meant to keep the walking up, I didn’t do so. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was so odd not having a lead in my hand.
Having a dog takes away excuses not to go and walk and I always feel much better for getting back home with Lady after my daily constitutional. Mind you, when it is tipping down with rain, Lady and I do speed up! Fortunately she does not mind being dried off. She sees it as a chance for a cuddle with Mum and I get even wetter! I also bless my washing machine as I couldn’t tell you how many soggy, muddy dog towels I wash over the winter months!
The main negative about walkies has been seeing so much litter about, particularly at Hiltingbury Rec. I am at a loss over this. There are plenty of bins, well spaced, and they’re bigger than they used to be too. I really don’t understand why people can’t be bothered to put their rubbish in a bin. Even dogs know not to mess their own dens. What is it about some humans?
I am glad to report most dog owners are responsible in clearing up their pets’ mess but it is hard not to take the view that this at least is organic when you see the mess that was left behind on Bournemouth Beach. That definitely wasn’t organic. It wasn’t necessary either. I still think they’re banning the wrong species from the beach from May to September.
It is one thing I love about the Scottish beaches. With few exceptions, dogs are not banned from the beaches, there are good bins about, and even where I know of exceptions, there are other beaches close by the dogs can still be exercised on.
How Finding Walks for Dogs Helped Me
I got into walking more with my last dog, Mabel. She had hip dysplasia and we discovered she had no ball in one of her hip sockets. It was all muscle so we had to (a) manage her weight and (b) manage her exercise to strengthen that muscle but at the same time not put too much of a strain on it. So the majority of her exercise was lead walking and we found different places to go to make such exercise more interesting for her.
The side benefit of that was it was more interesting for my better half and I as well. And walking is a major part of my keeping fit/weight down regime and I’m grateful for it. Again, as mentioned before, one thing about living where we do is there are a number of places to get to easily enough and if you can combine doing that with having fun with your dog, well that’s a double whammy as far as I’m concerned.
Right time to share this post and work out where I’m walking Lady tomorrow then! See you around!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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