Walking the Dog
Over the last few weeks I have been back walking the dog. I have to say that it is not my dog, just one that’s been loaned to me. It is a great joy to be back out there in the park meeting other dogs and their owners at various times of the day. I have really missed being a dog ‘owner’ over the last few years and I have to say it has been wonderful to be back holding the lead.
Wonderful as it is, I have been reminded of the challenge of being in charge of a dog. The particular challenge in this case has been in the form of a young male Lurcher that is still in training. Having been used to the very particular and specific characteristics of a ‘laid back’ Cocker Spaniel, the Lurcher has given me a run for my money. I would love to let him off the lead and watch him run, as he is clearly built for speed, but if I did so, I am conscious that he would be gone and I’d have some explaining to do to his owners. It is very tempting to just let him go as he runs so beautifully in such a fluid motion, almost like a racehorse. I am wondering if he would be a great dog for a fit runner or athlete in training.
The other uncertainty with being in charge of a different dog is the question of how is he going to respond to other people and other dogs? My approach has been to keep him on a short lead and I have been very cautious at the approach of other dogs or people. It has all worked out quite well except perhaps for a measure of over-excitement, particularly at the approach of other dogs. The young Lucher offers a longing whimper at even the sight of another dog, so my sense is that he is a pretty sociable hound, but as yet not fully conversant with dog etiquette.
The question that I am now pondering as a result of all this recent dog walking is the inevitable one that is faced by all dog owners whose dogs have died. Am I going to get another one of my own? As we know there are lots of reasons for and against, so the jury is still out. And of course there is the thorny question of what would be a good vicar’s dog? I’m thinking Jack Russell….
Rev. Dr. Christopher Noble – Rector