As she grew older our daughter had become increasingly desperate about the business of owning a dog.There were weeks when she would ask for a dog on a daily basis, the sense of urgency getting stronger. At one point, she claimed that her childhood would be ruined without a dog. A dog? I had always been a cat person. We have two cats, one large and tabby-like and one small and dark who came from #Batterseadogshome. I worried about how a dog would fit into our lives? (I still haven't figured out exactly what will happen when we go away)I knew as we all knew that I would become the leader of the pack, the picker upper of dog poo, the one who walks twice a day, even though my daughter, promised passionately that she would be the one to be the official dog-walker. She is here in the photograph hugging Ava and she has set up an Instagram Account called #Avathelittledog.
I am surrounded by dog people: I have friends who are besotted with their dogs, and treat them like partners. My Dad keeps about four or five dogs, and they sleep in a 'boot room' and sometimes I worry that they are cold. I used to feel sorry for the owners who scooped up dog poo whenever they went for a walk, but no longer. I am no longer scornful when I see perfectly sane adult throwing a ball for their dog over and over again. I am now that woman who throws a rubber ball about twenty times while walking in the park.
It's the people you meet who are so entertaining. The other dog owners. Of course you only know the names of their dogs initially, but soon you find out who they are. There are gilders, and musicians, and actors and set designers, yoga teachers and magazine website editors, all people I have met and talked to in my local park. I have watched Ava turn from a very shy puppy into a happy and confident dog. I have walked all through the winter and felt better for forcing myself outside.