You might not believe me, but in this part of France where mum and me live people don’t walk their dogs. Honest. I’m not kidding. Not once have we ever met another dog walker whilst we’ve lived here. Instead they let their dogs out to wander around alone. The local folk actually think it quite quaint that mum takes me out every day, and mum is now known as “the woman who walks the dog”. I’ve heard her say to Uncle Hugh “...I know they think I’m a sad bastard, especially when they drive past me and it’s bucketing down with rain and the wind’s howling around me. They look at me as one would look at an injured puppy…”
Mum wouldn’t DREAM of letting me go out on my own and between you and me - I’d not really know what to do if she did.
I’ve never been anywhere on my own. I can’t imagine walking without mum. Goodness knows what trouble I might get into. Take cars, for example. Sometimes I’m so engrossed in a nice smell I only know that one’s coming because mum instructs me to ‘Stay!’. So I freeze, which is what I’m programmed to do, and suddenly a car’s shooting past and I’d never even heard it before then. Sometimes there are some really good smells in the MIDDLE of the road where something has been squashed and I can spend ages having a good sniff at it. Imagine if I were on my own? Imagine if mum wasn’t there to drag me to the side of the road when a car is coming? I’d end up squashed too, wouldn’t I?
Usually we walk where there aren’t any cars and I can wander around without the lead, but we generally have to go on a road to get there.
In the UK, we used to meet lots of other dog walkers – that’s when mum found out that I had a few issues. The main one being what mum calls ‘littledogitits’. I call it ‘let me get to the bastards’. What she doesn’t realise is that some big dogs (and it’s only big dogs, not big bitches) put my hackles up because they give me that ‘look’ which says “Hey small fry – come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough…” so I have to show them who’s boss. Uncle Hugh says "..if he got his oats from time to time perhaps he wouldn't be so aggressive..." I don't know why he says that. I've no interest in oats. Oats are for horses. What have oats got to do with aggression?
Anyway, I’m digressing. I was telling you that they don’t walk their dogs around here – instead they simply let them out to wander around. It’s only a problem if the dog wandering around happens to be big, and a dog. Mum thinks she has to protect me from them, so she carries a big stick around with her wherever we go. She doesn't realise that I don't need protection - she should be protecting them from me!
It makes me laugh ‘cause mum reckons I’m aggressive, but you ought to see her when we end up face to face with a dog like Pierre, the local Mastiff/Rottweiller cross. He’s often wandering around barking and if mum would just leave me to it, I’d sort him out - but no. She tries to put me behind her then she bares her teeth, growls really loudly, shakes her stick and starts charging towards him – still growling. He runs like the clappers (and so would I if I were confronted with that) and I’m left in hysterics, hardly able to move I’m laughing so much. Then she says “My goodness, Henry. I truly hope nobody ever sees me do that, they’ll think I’m a nutter. I’ll end up with the nickname ‘the woman who growls at dogs’. Don’t tell anyone”
Don’t worry mum, I won’t:)
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