The day had finally come when Dave, my 11.5 week old Border Collie puppy was allowed out in public for the first time. This followed a never-ending 7 day wait after his second set of vaccinations.
Up until now Dave had only met immediate family and both he and I were getting cabin fever. There is only so much of a modest back garden that a Border Collie can explore.
West Sussex Dog Walk
I put the dog harness on Dave and tentatively opened the front door, not knowing what to expect from him. Would the local newspapers be full of wild-eye escaping Border Collie stories?
No, as it happened Dave just stood on my front doorstep and looked a bit lost and bewildered. Poor thing. With lots of encouragement, a few treats (which he wasn’t fussed about) and finger-pointing in the general right direction Dave finally set off on his own adventure.
He walked 3 feet, stopped and sat down. This might take a while.
River Stor Walk – South Downs
Between the village centre of Storrington West Sussex and the edge of Cootham there is a pleasant part-wooded walk beside the River Stor, this seemed a good place to start our canine micro-adventure. No vehicle traffic, no horses and no distracting children during the working day.
I am pleased to report back that Dave behaved really well in the company of the dog-walkers he met along his first proper South Downs walk. He even wagged his tail for most of the walk, which given his initial bewilderment was good to see.
He sniffed at nettles, tip-toed through mud (that’ll soon change) and peered up at noisy flapping pigeons in the tall trees. This was a proper adventure.
Early days but hopefully his second walk will come with memories of a good first walk. That should make stepping away from the doorstep a little less time-consuming.
Here’s to a wagging tail more often!
Malcolm & Dave