… That was an experience.
From having to be dragged on his bum across the garden to even get to the car, to being quite enthusiastic upon arrival at our destination (Weetslade Country Park).
Far from being the inquisitive, energetic nuisance I expected him to be, he was actually wimpy and clingy and walked under our feet quite a lot. Which is worse, at least in terms of an actual walk. In hindsight, it was probably to be expected. He is not yet a bold dog, and there will, of course, have been a lot to take in on his first experience of the world beyond our garden.
These were the mitigating circumstances we applied when he met his first dog along the way, a rotund and elderly Jack Russell carrying a ball. After one brief sniff in the dog’s direction, he took to yelping and squealing like we’d never yet heard, convincing us – not least my Mother, who was some distance ahead – that he had somehow been gruesomely savaged by the beast, or his jolly, elderly owner. A quick pick-up, and an inspection of all his extremities showed he was fine. No thorns; no glass; just an apparent horror at the idea of another dog.
We carried on, though, and my, did we meet dogs. Great gangs of them, Labs and greyhounds and Collies and all manner of horrific in-betweens, and of each and every one of them Jasper was petrified.
After our turn, though, on the return journey to the car, I suggested we let him off the lead, confident that his neediness meant he would not stray far. This did the trick and he seemed far happier walking with us – so much so, that when we encountered another group, complete with a four-month old Cocker Spaniel called Amber, he threw himself heart and soul into chasing and bounding around with her and her elder brother.
It was brilliant to see – he seemed in his element – and as we parted, he followed and explored our surroundings with more interest, suggesting to us that he had new-found confidence – which is exactly what we wanted.
More of the same tomorrow, please!