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the dog

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Crunching through snow, squinting in bright sunshine, being battered by wind and hail and splashing through rainstorms.  People often ask whether I find it a bind, but one of the unexpected highlights of dog ownership has been our daily walk.

I like the discipline of having to go out, even if I’m not in the mood.  Sometimes I run, but mostly I potter, phone switched to camera.  I always feel better for it.

I like the types I encounter on the way.  Fellow dog owners, we swap names and ages of pets, much like I used to in my playground days.  Solo runners, some of them friends, we mouth hello or morning as we cross paths.  Groups of sweaty people in bibs doing press ups on the grass as a sergeant major type yells at them.  Tired parents in the playground with toddlers, clutching takeaway coffees as if they’re the only thing keeping them upright.  The child minder of indeterminate age, with her small charges hunting for snails or lying on their tummies on the railway bridge, squealing with excitement as trains race underneath them.  The drawn, anxious mothers pushing tiny babies in prams who I want to hug and tell them it will all be OK.

And always, everyday, the dog.  Sniffing, galumphing, stealing balls, bounding and leaping, playing, splashing, chasing crows and making mad dashes for the lake, which she’s not supposed to go in.  It’s all good.

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This post was written for The Gallery.  The theme this week is the everyday.

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What would you save if your house was on fire?  It goes without question that the children and the husband would be out first, followed swiftly by the dog.  But if you had time to gather some belongings, what would they be?

The children’s favourite toys, the ones they sleep with, often smelly and greying, but loved with a fierce devotion, would have to come.

My Diamond Jubilee teacup, bought with some money my aunt gave me with the instruction to “buy something nice”.  It’s a bit bling, but it’s very lovely.

My wedding ring.  I made it myself out of white gold, made the husband’s too.  I used to have really tiny fingers, but since having babies no longer.  The ring needs resizing, but until I get round to it, it’s in my bedside drawer.  That definitely has to come.

Family photos.  These are mostly old and irreplaceable.  Photos of grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents.

My photos, the photos I’ve taken.  I have boxes of slides and prints from the olden days and a hard drive full of digital pictures.

Travel souvenirs from last year’s round world trip and other trips.  The picture is of my rather beautiful Kiwi Christmas present.  I have a similarly lovely birthday one from Sydney.

Pepper the dog.  Couldn’t leave her.

My iPhone.

There’s probably other stuff too, favourite books, childhood teddies, MacBook and cables, my bed, but it’s just stuff isn’t it?  None of it is really important.  Love is all you really need.  Besides, it would be quite hard to get the bed down the stairs.

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I got the idea from this post after reading The Burning House, an absolutely fascinating website.  I have of course contributed.

It’s awards season again.  I won’t win an Oscar, but I could win a Brilliance in Blogging Award (I’ve been shortlisted in category seven, Go!, if you fancied voting to get me into the final, I’d be everso grateful).  And if you enjoyed voting for that award (come on, you know you did) then please could you also nominate me for a MAD award.  You’re a diamond.

This is her pleading face.  Please feed me.  Please love me.  Please take me with you.  She’s sitting by the front door as I get ready to leave.  That particular day I wasn’t taking her, and she knew it.  I’m probably anthropomorphising, but I think she looks sad.  It’s the eyes.  I was a little bit sad too.  I was only picking the children up from school, or going to the post office, but I like taking her out.  Her verve for life and ability to find pleasure in the smallest things, a biscuit crumb, a squirrel to chase, a puddle to swim in, make taking her outside a pleasure.

Our regular walks have become a highlight of my of my days.  Crunching frosty grass, splodging along muddy tracks, receiving a sleety facial, it’s all good when accompanied by a lolloping hound.  If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t venture outside in driving rain and howling wind, but I’ve no doubt that a brisk stomp on a daily basis is doing me a lot of good.  And seeing her grinning face as she bounds up to me with a stolen tennis ball in her mouth, makes me happy.  They should give out dogs on the NHS.

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This post is for the Gallery at Sticky Fingers, whose theme this week is ‘Eyes’.