It’s not cruel to shout at dogs

‘Missing Dog, Please Do Not Call, Chase or Try To Grab Her!! She Will Run!!’ This notice, featuring the face of a cavalier spaniel, is once again pinned around the village where I live and all the neighbouring villages, country lanes and roadsides. I say again, because about six months ago an identical message was pinned up everywhere, but featuring another missing dog incident. Is there a template for these missing dog notices, because they all seem to say the same daft thing, in Surrey anyway? ‘Do not call, chase or try to grab.’ Yes, that’s kind of why you lost your dog in the first place. I think you’ll

The lost dogs of Surrey

The woman pulled up in her flashy 4×4 which was meandering along the farm track in that way people have when they have ‘questions’. People in Surrey often have questions as they drive past a farm. For example, I had a gentleman query why the horses were wearing ‘blindfolds’ recently, and I had to explain that owners often put their horses in fly masks during the summer, if that was all right by him? And he said it wasn’t. Because people who know diddly squat about rural matters have the strongest opinions, especially about horses. This lady was meandering and looking out of the window into the stable yard as

The myriad signatures of a canine pissoir

Sally (la Sal, the Salster) is part whippet, part Labrador and part dormouse. She is 16 years old, stone deaf, three-quarters blind and has dementia. She sleeps like the dead all day but loves her evening walk. We’ve decided that for as long as she enjoys her walks and remains continent indoors we’ll delay taking her to the vet and asking him to put her light out. ‘We’re talking about you,’ I shout at her after we’ve had a review because the dementia has become more obvious. No response. Deaf as a post. ‘You’re on borrowed time, sweetheart,’ I say, lifting her ear to speak into her head. No response.

What’s a squashed dog between neighbours?

Not long after he took on a smallholding for his cobs, the builder boyfriend found a couple walking through his fields with their dog. They had appeared out of nowhere, apparently by squeezing through a small hole in the hedge with a neighbouring property. As there is no footpath through his land, the BB was perplexed. ‘Can I help you?’ he called. But the smartly dressed couple waved him away. ‘No, thank you!’ the man called back politely enough, as he and his wife walked on with their spaniel, which darted this way and that, soon entangling itself with Jimmy and Duey, the builder b’s black and white cobs. The

Boris Johnson’s surprising new love of animals

I am amused to learn that Carrie Symonds interrupts cabinet meetings to complain about newspaper stories featuring her dog Dilyn. I was surprised that Boris agreed to a rescue dog in Downing Street. In all the years I have known him, he has never seemed very fond of animals; at least he has always shown a rather cavalier attitude towards Mini. Mini is a gentle soul, with the milk of canine kindness bursting from every pore. The only person she has ever attacked is our current Prime Minister. One could plead this was out of self-defence. Boris had just sat on her.

The WFH community are finally walking their own dogs — with terrible consequences

Every time I get on a horse I have to face the likelihood that a dog, or pack of dogs, will have me off. This issue of idiot dog owners walking their dogs for the first time now they are working from home is a situation that has developed since Covid but as far as I’m aware, no government guidelines have been issued to deal with it. Traditionally, dog owners in the idiot class don’t walk their dogs themselves, delegating that to a dog walker who collects the dog in a van and drives it to a place where it is walked with a load of other dogs. Either that,

The pleasures — and pain — of dog-walking

The old dog was in a companionable frame of mind and she trotted along at my side, glancing up now and then at my face with a grin, perhaps with happiness at being out and about in a pleasant temperature in a changing season. Each evening we tread the same 40-minute circuit out of the village and back. Along the route are several doggy equivalents of a message board, of which she is a fanatical reader and contributor. Her evening walk is the highlight of her day. Otherwise the old girl sleeps. The circuit is a popular one with other dog walkers. There is, for example, a French girl of