Jan Ist,2019 New Year .A walk along the beach ,run /walk really .Walk  through the long dog beach because I have learnt from bitter experience what happens to an older ,unsteady runner amongst those dogs .Thoughts this day are on the past and  on possible futures ,goals ,resolutions ,regrets ,big changes

So its easy to distract oneself with observations of dogs and owners.Dogs here of every shape and behaviour, some big and bulky ,moving side to side on small squat frames ,others small and cute with little legs but moving along quite rapidly .some sleek and quick ,thin bodies  whipping between beach goers, fetching balls and finding playmates. Equally appealing are the large gentle dogs who love the water ,their owner and balls,in  that order They often have long smooth hair and their only fault is  to  treat other dogs, and you ,as friends .So you have to be wary of being tripped as they arrive with their balls .Some dogs dont like them either and their owners are as upset as the dogs when there is an incident “Oh ,he just wanted to play ,he’s so friendly “

Other dogs  are challenging ,moving slowly and threateningly towards other dogs ,who eye them warily and mover closer to their owners .

But what I notice most are the likenesses .The likenesses that are formed in any community ,which extend to the owners and the dogs .This is a community to be reckoned with :a powerful voice for dog freedom ,dog rights ,dog space .No matter how large the space is ,no matter how inconvenienced mere non dog owners are by  the dog poo,being knocked over ,feeling strangers on their own sea front ,the dog owners will not  yield a cm .IN fact true dog capitalists ,they want more .

I watch a middle aged bearded man walk towards me holding his dog on a  leash .And behold ,his slim dog has the same pointed face ,flaring nostrils ,flinty eyes and a thin mouth surrounded by white facial hair .Owner, like dog ,strides on looking neither to left or right .A couple follow behind him ,formless ,any age ,shirted and short hair .Both their dogs are nondescript, mixed breed ,sort of brown ,unassuming dogs ,The difference is they are not holding hands.But the man coming along opposite is followed by a bull doggy looking dog -it can’t help its face I guess and neither can the man with the wide shoulders ,squat body ,overhanging stomach and squashed in face help the fact that he resembles  his pet .But its remarkable .

In case I am being horrible ,young women often bound along with their alsatians or labradors or whippets running alongside ,and they mostly have svelte bodies ,long legs and confident, happy  faces .They throw balls for their dogs and jump in the waves .young families mostly have spaniels or small poodles ,and the dogs keep close to the toddlers.

This is family -I hear a woman speak to her dog”be gentle now ” in exactly the same tone I used wth a child who was just about to hit his sibling on the head (or hold it under if we were at the beach ) its a tone half pleading ,half admonishing ,and really hoping that one will not have to take urgent and tiring action : like all go home in the case of the family ,but in the case of the dog, apologise to an irate owner ,or in the worse case scenario give your phone no for  the vet bill to follow, and take the dog home .Watched with pity or loathing of course by a few witnesses whose dogs and children are well  trained .

You will have fathomed by now that I am not entirely forgetful of the fact that I once was the owner of dogs ,that I loved them both ,and hated them in equal measure .Well they were both brought to the house by my sons and loved and indulged.But I exercised them and paid the vet bills and fines.The first one was named Rafiki,friend in Swahili ,and he was part kelpie ,active ,friendly, cute ,and very badly behaved .He ran away when I took him to he beach ,off a lead of course because I never thought then that dogs need leads ,and I spent hours chasing him up and down sand dunes .He took off across several highways for various visits ,he chased cats ,he jumped up and ate whatever food was left out.His main virtue was that he was short haired so did not shed fur all over the house ,although he was never inside enough to do so any way .He cost this family a fortune in fines as  the ranger took him regularly off to the pound

Our second dog was called Saphy( i have written a requiem for her in one one of my bloggs  so won’t go into a lot of detail ) and she was anxious ,loving and increasingly bad  tempered towards other dogs as she got older .She had masses of long corse hair which she shed everywhere -because we were not firm enough she slept everywhere -bed,carpets ,lounge chairs and the newer the object all the better to lie on .

So  I do know about dogs ,and I do sort of like them .But I still find them annoying in large groups ,as I do people,Am I like our family dogs ?Active and cute ,appealing when I was younger .and moody, anxious  and solitary as I age .