It’s my dog’s birthday and to celebrate, I thought I’d do my first ever blog post! When my eldest child left home, I did the obvious thing and replaced him with a Border Terrier named Rufus. He didn’t seem to mind much and neither did my son. Rufus keeps me company, gets me out for exercise and sometimes gets into scrapes that remind me vividly of being responsible for very small children. (Thankfully though, so far my dog’s never bitten anyone – unlike my son.)
But for me, there’s more to owning a dog than trying to replace my children. From my earliest years I would’ve given all my adult teeth (gladly) to have my very own canine friend. My parents always said no. I had to make do with battery-operated yapping toys, or tagging along with our kind neighbour whenever she walked her dog.
So finally being able to look into the living, brown eyes of my own, real dog… is massively fulfilling for my smaller, younger self.
Plenty of children’s book creators speak about being at least as motivated by the child they used to be, (and still are inside), as by the children around them today. I know that’s true for me. Taking my dog for a walk is like a daily link back to my own early years, and a feeling of connection with the natural world. When Rufus keeps his small nose to the ground, I keep noticing those tiny details that might otherwise all too easily pass me by.