Border Collie Dave – Chapter 7

Devon a New Beginning

There is no need for me to cover old ground here, except to say that the events of chapter two were a very sad time in my life and I expect Dave also found the upheaval stressful; but the reality of the matter was that Dave and I were now headed down the A303 dual carriageway to live in Torquay Devon.

With the car full of my worldly possessions, including an adorable young puppy looking out the rear window of the car at the countryside whizzing by I arrived in Devon. Dave was over the moon; new people to make a fuss of him and as he was to discover a new exciting hobby.

My parents had very kindly agreed to let Dave and myself move in for a few weeks, whilst I sorted out a permanent place to live somewhere in the UK. I was self employed and thankfully that allowed me some choice as to where to reside!

My main priority was that Dave would feel safe, loved and have access to dusty paths and bees in nettle banks! The only drawback was that my parents had insisted Dave slept in a large outbuilding and not (as they didn’t have one) a luxurious conservatory of his own!

That first night was pitiful for Little Dave, my parents had placed his crate in their outbuilding (a large warm, dry shed with windows but not joined to the main house) and I showed puppy his “new” sleeping quarters for the next few weeks. Suffice to say he wasn’t in the least bit impressed and was as the whimpers in the night proved, a little scared too.

It broke my heart to hear Dave whimpering as that first Devonian day ended as the sun set over Torbay. It was getting dimpsey and the evening shadows flickered and danced beyond the safety of the locked window. Once more the terrors of the shape-shifters had come to haunt Little Dave as they played out a moonlit dance.

Owls hooted as the witching hour passed and eventually Dave settled down to sleep, though I suspect he had kept one perky triangular ear high on alert until the wee small hours. As day follows night, the morning arrived and a cheerful puppy wriggled with glee as my mum fussed his head as I prepared his breakfast in the kitchen.

The night terrors swiftly forgotten as Dave and I tucked into a hearty breakfast as the sun shone down its new beginning beams across Lyme Bay and Devon. I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders and my mood was once again one of adventure and optimism.

With our first breakfast consumed in this “new” land of plenty it was time to show puppy my parents garden. Dave it turned out was a keen gardener!

Border Collie Dave Torquay

Border Collie Dave Torquay

My parents love gardening and almost every day they can be found pruning this, dead-heading that and cutting something down. Just stop and imagine for a moment how absolutely wonderful that life would seem to an energetic border collie. STICKS!!!

Any keen gardener will own a trug and a large plastic bag to collect all the off cuts from a good pruning session. Much to David’s delight my parents had a couple of containers and simultaneous dead heading of large shrubs would occur in different corners of the garden.

No sooner had my mother placed freshly cut sticks into the trug, then Dave would pull them out and bound across the lawn in delight, towards my step-father who would have a different selection of toys – I mean flower cuttings!

My step-father would follow the trail of leaves and faded blooms, collecting the debris into his large plastic garden waste sack. Dave would bound back towards my mother awaiting the next timber felling session and this would go on for hours under the beautiful blue Devon sky.

I would imagine this is exactly how grandparents feel; filled with fun and laughter but utterly exhausted after a few hours. Border collies have no off switch and puppy would sulk when my parents stopped gardening for a well deserved cup of tea on the patio.

Dave would nudge my mum’s leg with his nose, a fairly forceful tap; c’mon c’mon he would pester. Manners were perhaps not his strong point but those soulful brown eyes made up for any lack of finishing school class. Quite often I would watch from the patio as my mother and puppy wandered out of sight; Dave nudging her leg every few strides.

And so this was how our new life in Devon had begun. From the seemingly bottomless pit of sorrow I rescued myself with the help of family, friends and my greatest supporter: Border Collie Dave.

Dead-heading roses had become the best day ever; we both said that, well Dave woofed at a bee but I understood the sentiment.

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Malcolm Oakley
Hello, I’m Malcolm Oakley, a keen walker, leisure photographer and outdoors blogger. I'm lucky to have lived at the edge of the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

Living in Devon I am now walking the South West Coast Path and Dartmoor National Park with my Border Collie 'Dave'.

I hope you enjoy reading about my walks, look forward to reading your comments on the blog posts and YouTube videos. Please do get in touch.
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