Today is Jemima's birthday, she is one year old. We're on holiday so she'll be spending the day with Bobby. He walks her while we're at work and she billets with him when we're out of Town, or indeed out on the Town. She'll be having fun there with the other dogs, but of course we're sad not to be with her.
But one good thing about being apart from her is it gives us the space to reflect, to think about the difference she's made to our lives. Now sure, there have been some tedious bits. You know, the getting used to having to plan ahead, the cleaning up of her 'designated area' in the garden, and the occasional and inexplicable barking at strangers in the park. But it's far outweighed by the good stuff. Far, far outweighed. There's too much to really write down, but here's a start...
If you want something in the world that is always happy to see you, no matter how you've behaved, that greets you with a wag of the tail and an excited growl 'hello', get a dog.
If you want to see more of the day, the sun come up, the sun go down, the frost on the grass, and the rain fall from the clouds, get a dog.
If you want to really explore where you live, the paths, and the parks, the canals, and the marshes, get a dog.
If you want to excercise with abandon, without a watch, without a predetermined route, with nothing more than excited enthusiasm, get a dog.
If you want the occasional nod in the park from joggers, a passing 'how's it going' from other owners, or a minute or two chewing of the fat with just about anyone, get a dog.
If you want something that is so dependent on you that it makes you a more reliable person, so much more reliable that without you noticing that dependency changes to the deepest trust, get a dog.
And finally, if you want something to sit down excitedly when you tell it to, get a dog (and possibly some liver treats).
We see her again in a week, it's a good feeling.