Freedom!

Willow had her last check-up at the vet for her re-built knee on Monday. The vet signed her off, gave her the all-clear and said we could keep building up her walks by 10-15 minutes each week and – finally- she was allowed off the lead again when out on walks.

So the last couple of days when we’ve taken her out for a walk, we’ve done just that. The first time we made her sit and unclipped her lead she looked at us as if to say, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’ but after very little encouragement she was off like a shot, tail wagging, tongue out, big grin all over her face. Yes I know I’m anthropomorphising but, I’m sorry, dogs ‘grin’ when they’re happy. What’s more she has been so good with it, running in short bursts but never straying far from us and always coming back when called.

Freedom and long walks, with some of the summer left to enjoy them in. Perfect!

Happy dog

Big grin!

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Larks and Owls and Cats and Dogs

“Are you a lark or an owl?” goes the question about sleeping habits. Are you up early like the lark or do you stay awake late into the night like the owl? Apparently it’s genetic but also changes throughout your life.

In this household, however, it would be more appropriate to talk about being a dog or a cat. On a typical day I will let Willow out of her crate around 6.30 whereupon she will bounce on me for a few minutes then run out into the garden and run around in circles. For the first couple of hours she’s constantly on the move until I take her out for a short morning walk after which she will nap for an hour or so and let me get on with some work. Later on in the morning she’ll be burning off energy again, asking to go out, playing and generally trying to get my attention until she gets a lunchtime walk.

Afternoons are usually calmer, at least until the children come home from school and although Willow would never turn down the opportunity for an evening walk, mostly she’s a lot quieter in the evenings. From around 8pm onwards she’s usually flaked out on the rug or quite often will take herself into her crate to doze and is quite happy to be shut up in her crate from around 9pm onwards.

Cat, on the other hand, is a whole different story. She will get up at six when I do but only because she knows that’s one of the two times of the day that I will put food in her bowl. She’ll have a quick snack and then get straight back onto our bed to sleep for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. Mid-afternoon she’ll get more food and then she’ll be out of the door and into the neighbourhood. She doesn’t have a regular routine, sometimes she’ll pop back briefly in the evening but most times she’ll stay out.

Cat asleep on the bed

My personal opinion is that cats should be kept in at night, it’s safer for them and better for the local wildlife. In theory that’s what we try to do but Cat doesn’t always co-operate. If she does happen to come home after about 7pm I will lock the cat flap shut. However, particularly in the summer she often doesn’t come home before we go to bed and rolls in around three or four in the morning. Husband has suggested that her waking him up at this time by patting his face is the equivalent of the drunk coming home to say, “I really really love you…” before crashing out.

So, are my animals typical? Are yours the same? Do you crate your dog and keep your cat in at night? I’d like to know how they compare.

Incidentally, according to the RSPB, both owl and lark populations have decreased over the last few decades. Skylark populations, the UK’s most common breed of lark, have decreased by two-thirds in the last thirty years and consequently have been flagged up as being as high conservational concern.