The Dog Walk Area

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A fun blog of 'soft' philosophy about the life and times of a Westiepoo called Chester. Written as a prelude to a more serious novel raising the question: Who is the most bankrupt: the banker who won't whistle-blow or the chef who loses her livelihood?

Maya, the blue eyed Husky, is a familiar face around this part of the world. Of Siberian descent, she was the dog I looked up to as my role model for doggy decorum in the neighbourhood park when I was a little puppy. On many occasion, she rolled me in the dirt and apprised me of my place in the pecking order of canine society. I still frequently see her with her owners passing my front window on the opposite side of the street and give a friendly howl. She does, after all, represent a godparent like personality to me.

During those early days 'off lead walks' were very much restricted to the confines of the Dog Walk Area in Welland Park: a section of the popular park that has been partitioned off with steel perimeter guarding fences for exercising dogs. Originally the fencing was wooden, but at significant cost to the local tax paper, in times of austerity, a green powdered-coated metal one is now installed, keeping me within its boundaries. The dog walk path, resurfaced last year, is a bit grainy and breaks up pretty quickly especially when raining. Hence, whoever was responsible for the track should be made to come back and put the matter right. Right?

Not only have I met many dogs, but there is also other familiar park faces like Steve the ever-tanned Head Park Keeper and his Hungarian assistant, Sue; the white-haired man whose grandson plays rugby; and the athletics-mad lady with two greyhounds. Each of them knows me well and give me a wholesome pet when they see me: such is my appeal and cuteness. Sometimes, I'm indeed naughty and run to greet the two park keepers in their nursery.

It's not that I get many walks in the park these days. I can be even freer in the fields now that the ground is hardening. But the reason I mention it is because many a dog is let loose in the main playing field, which, incidentally, now has a perimeter walk outside of the dog section, for the Saturday parkrun. So when I do get to the park, half of my confidants and buddies roam the field, while I, and a few others, stay in our area. It's not like there are dog bins only in the dog section, they're in various locations around the park. Illogical if you ask me, even discriminatory against us dogs, dividing us up like that!

The parkrun follows the tree line alongside the dog walking area and eventually bears right back to the big stone by the children's play zone. Runners wishing to run with their dogs are welcome, but I can't see any of the WS household wishing to participate with or even without me. The thing is, those runners used to do what most of us dogs do all year long: run on grass. Now the runners are spoilt for choice with their gravel track on which to parade themselves each weekend. How luxurious is that? What happened to good old cross-country running?

Anyhow, back to matters at hand. The trees, shrubs, and flowers in the park are now beginning to bloom, including inside the dog section. My picture doesn't show it (it was a grey April day with a biting cold wind), but there is far more colour to see and aromas to smell. And we are now able to cross the river in the field. Overall optimism is returning, a vital resource in troubled times: a dynamic and creative energy expressed when spring has finally taken hold to replace the winter gloom. The only trouble is my primary walking partner is now distributing charity bags each weekend, sometimes reaching thirty-thousand steps and ten miles each route, so he doesn't have the same energy to take me on longer, more pleasurable walks. So it's back to the mundane field and, dare I say it, even more, ordinary Dog Walk Area!

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