« Back to Writing main page

Dog Walkers, by Carol Rowlands





Sample chapters



An affable exchange


Today’s walk is proving to be a series of minor disappointments. I’ve contributed to this, having chosen to follow a fairly run-of-the-mill route, and I made the decision at just that moment in the day when the weather took a turn for the worse. It’s cold and dull, a bit of a drizzle coming on now.

My dog Rosie has a distinctly forlorn appearance. Head down, lope, lope, lope in her damp, muddy, supposedly weather-proof coat. She seems to have a sort of “well, let’s get this thing over with” kind of air about her. Or is that me?

What very often transforms an outing like this is the variety of people one encounters along the way. Not forgetting their dogs, of course. Hooray for the hardy dog-walker!

So what’s gone wrong today? Bad weather seldom, in my experience, dims the jauntiness of the dog owner’s spirits. Rather heightens it, as a matter of fact, from the “why do we do it?” yelled in passing with a grin from underneath the hood, to a lengthy, sometimes too lengthy, analysis of the ups and downs of the British climate, whilst the dogs barge up against each other (or you) in a apparent, and successful, attempt to spread the mud and water around a bit.

Three sets of person-with-dog, so far. The first is a chap in his forties, dressed sensibly for the weather, big boots, waterproof jacket and hood. Firm stride. The dog is a lively big thing, doberman I think, robust and inquisitive. It careers our way well in advance of him, and seems inclined to take an interest in Rosie, a gesture she visibly though shyly welcomes. Lovely.

I look towards the guy, beaming, preparing a droll remark about the irrepressible pull of the doggy hello, come rain or shine. He looks a bit solemn, but I launch in.

“Ha, a mere deluge isn’t going to dampen his ardour!” I bawl through the downpour, which it’s now become. But the man’s eyes resolutely face front, stern expression fixed. Ah. My hearty smile is still lingering, immovable, as his shoulder passes within three feet of mine. He strides on past me, grim-faced, giving not even a hint of acknowledgement.

Slosh, slosh, slosh. Now here comes a little border terrier. Marvellous characters, these. My family used to have one and I can never resist an adoring word. The owner looks fun, a youngish woman with bright blue wellies and a green sou’wester. The border makes a bee-line for Rosie, bottom wiggling in excitement.

“Come here, Sushie!” Very no-nonsense. “No!” even more forceful, as Sushie begs to differ.

She charges wetly past us. “Come on. Come on!”

End of encounter.

Almost immediately I do a double-take. A creature bearing a striking resemblance to my little Rosie has appeared over the rise. How divine! They always seem to “know their own” and it’s a nice excuse for an affable exchange.

The dogs sidle up to each other, standing tall, ears and tails pricked up. Despite this rain’s effect on my knees (sodden), nose (dripping) and neck (water filtering down), I simply must stop to watch this little communing of the hounds. I’m smiling, charmed, and raise my eyes to the owner, who’s just reached the scene.

She isn’t looking my way, though. She’s looking, deadpan, at Rosie, as though at a bollard, or a teapot, or a table leg. Less than no interest. Now she’s on the move again, barely missing a beat.

“Drum!” she yells her sharp summons. Did she really call that dog Drum? No telling, as they’re already fifteen yards behind me, and counting.

It’s a dismal day, it’s wet, it’s vile. Do the walk.


© Carol Rowlands 2009





« Back to Writing main page

« Back to top of this page

Web design by Wordspree