One of the key searches in our find for a holiday cottage was that it had to be pet friendly. Our dog is now over a year old and as yet I have not summoned up the courage to put him in kennels. Dog’s are not like cat’s in the sense that they are not home birds it’s their human family that is important to them so they will go where they are. That is not to say though that they like change they don’t.
Our dog is no exception. As soon as he saw the cases coming out he was wary and by the time his bed was dismantled he was very anxious indeed. When he gets like this he brings his lead to us to emphasise that he is coming too. He was delighted but surprised to find out that not only was he coming but he was going to be at my feet for the journey. Normally he travels in the boot. But he did not settle the whole journey as unlike the rest of us he didn’t know why the car was packed to the brim and where we were going.
On arrival he lept out of the car and like the rest of us gazed at the view and wagged his tail with approval. We had arrived and as soon as his bed was put up that tail wagged more and more. But not as much as it did when my daughter and I took him down to the beach on that first evening and he realised that he had a whole beach to run along, chase birds and inspect seaweed.
In a previous life I would have slept in late every day and would have greeted the west coast view in the afternoon not the morning. But since having kids I tend to wake earlier as my mother antenna goes on as soon as one of them usually my son wakes up. Since having a dog my wake up time has been even earlier as the dog especially in summer likes to be up and about early. In a strange place the first morning this meant 6am.
I groaned put on some clothes and went down and got him. Then looked out of the window and saw a sparkling blue sea and sky and the sun just coming up. And instead of feeling that I had the short straw I realised far from it I was the lucky one. So the dog and I headed down the farm track to the beach below us. While the dog explored the beach and ate his first crab which he was then to do on a daily basis. I walked along the beach and marvelled at the colours and the landscape and thought how great it was going to be staying in this spot for two weeks. And then the decades stripped away and I remembered another cocker spaniel and a teenage girl who walked and walked the hills and beaches of Arran and dreamt big dreams about her future.
So a pattern emerged each day the dog woke me up with his cries never again at 6am but never later than 7.30am. I would grab my clothes and head out to the beach to marvel that I was the first each day to add footprints to the sand, to see what the tide had brought in and to assess what the weather was going to be. It was these early morning walks that helped me to relax very quickly and sorted out lots of things in my head. And for that I have to thank the dog as without him I would maybe have thought of getting up and going a walk on the beach but it is unlikely that I would have actually done so.
The dog had a ball on holiday. Apart from our early morning walks he enjoyed many days at the beach as we spent at least half of our holiday on the beach below our cottage. He learnt to swim a bit in the sea but was still very wary of it. Untill I finally ventured in to the sea for a swim and he very anxiously tried to protect me and swim after me nearly drowning himself in the process. He also enjoyed walking on Macrahanish beach though we had to watch him like a hawk as he would dearly have loved to have gone on the golf course and caused havoc. We had two Island trips on Cal Mac ferries which he loved though day outings seemed to tire him out and he snored both times on the ferry back. But all in all he loved his holiday and we loved having him with us.
Yesterday though saw him anxious again and as the car got packed he howled and yet again brought his lead to us. Usually when let loose in the garden of the holiday cottage he would escape at speed to explore. Not yesterday no as soon as he managed to escape from the house he was off into the car. As it was packed to the gunnels he may be thought there was no room for him. This time though he sat at my feet like an angel and slept the whole way home. As if he knew that he was going home.
Once home he was content to explore the house and garden. But I was feeling the blues. So I did what I always do when I am feeling low I headed off for a walk to view the Tweed and the Eildons. Not the blue of the west coast but green, lush and beautiful too and home to us. And in the end of the day that is one of the many reasons that I love having a dog as they need you to walk them and it’s when walking that I sort myself out in whatever mood I am wither by the sea of blue or the river of green. And for that I am very grateful just as I was when I was a teenager that I have a dog.