This week's walks have been a bit of a blur, so I won't try catching up. Suffice to say that the weather has been getting warmer and the ice patches have disappeared as the week has progressed.
Yesterday we had a bit of a Holly-induced detour from what was going to be a Standard Route, Variant A. This means that instead of going the quickest route into the Dene you walk to the bus terminus and then walk the additional length of the Dene. For some reason, R&A's camouflage always seems to work best along this stretch of the Dene and Amazon likes to explore the higher reaches of the east side of the Dene. Otherwise this is the same walk as usual.
Everything was progressing well; Amazon was off having fun and Rover was trotting back and forth while Holly took up her accustomed place at the rear. Then we started meeting other dogs. First there was a collie who Rover began playing with. We rarely have a problem with other dogs and Rover but inevitably Amazon turns up.
Amazon hates other dogs enjoying themselves, unless it involves chasing a ball and she is involved. Squeaky toys, pulling ropes, shaking anything are all banned activities as far as Amazon is concerned. She will quite happily confiscate the other two dogs' toys and sit with them between her paws, in full sight but untouchable.
This attitude seems to extend to Rover having fun with other dogs. If the other dog is playful then Amazon will bark at it and try to subdue it. In itself this is not dreadful behaviour as dogs should be allowed to resolve dominance issues. What is more problematic is that Rover then turns on the dog he has been playing with and it turns into a hunt situation with both dogs chasing the dog they have just met. Thankfully Holly does not join in. The only solution is a timely intervention, getting Amazon out of the way and on the lead.
So we passed the collie and walked towards the lower bridge. Here we met two golden labradors who we meet quite often. Not being excitable dogs themselves, they just sniff and move on; they don't want to play chasey with Rover so Amazon does not get annoyed, which is good news all round. We had a quick chat with their owner and walked on.
At this time the routine is that R&A have a quick drink from the semi-permanent puddles along this stretch before running off into the trees to hunt about again, while Holly trots along behind us doing little more adventurous than snacking on the grass at the side of the path if she feels the need.
Not yesterday. She saw another dog on the bridge and decided to introduce herself. Having done so, she decided that instead of coming back over with the dog she had just met, she would keep going. We tried calling her, but got no response. Instead we called R&A and took them over the bridge in search of our wandering old dog.
We found her having introduced herself to yet another dog, whose owner was concerned about the whereabouts of her owner. Holly did not seem at all phased by her break from routine. Rather than backtrack to finish the planned route we continued the way home on the west side of the dual carriageway. R&A looked hopefully at the Big Field but as there were no balls to throw they grudgingly plodded back home having missed out on their last five minutes of freedom.