Kamikaze attack in Hailey ParkIt was warm.
It was Sunny.
There was no breeze to speak of and all seemed well with the world.
I was walking the dogs around the park as usual ... throwing a ball for Sym, encouraging Clover to keep up and calling to Sox in order to stop her running back home.
It was an absolutely perfect day and for an hour or more we enjoyed the sunshine and quiet (very few people out that day) of the park.
It was as we were about to cross the rugby field, by the changing rooms, when the incident happened.
I had just thrown the ball for Sym and he'd charged after it in his usual, bullish manner; Sox was halfway across the field looking at me just in case I changed direction; Clover was at my heels.
As I waited for Sym to bring his ball back and exchange it for a piece of cheese when I noticed what appeared to be swarm of light coloured flies coming towards me. The little buggers were flying fast and before I knew it, the swine started pinging off my glasses and face. It all happened in just a few seconds ... then they were gone. But not ALL of them had made it past me ... my glasses were covered in dead flies, as was my face!
I counted at least five dead flies squished on the lenses of my spec's and when I got back to the car and looked in the mirror there were at least another six or more flattened on my forehead and cheeks.
I've had many a dead fly on the windscreen of my car after a fast drive, but I've never suffered such an 'attack' whilst standing still.
It was disgusting! All those bugs using my face as a means of killing themselves!
It reminded me of that old joke;-
What's the last thing to go through a fly's mind when it hits the windscreen?
My boy and his ballI am beginning to realise that my boy Sym has a closer relationship with his ball than he does with me.
If his ball goes into the long grass or bushes on a walk he will spend ages looking for it, but if I hide from him he tends to wait until Clover and Sox locate me first before he comes for a look.
The good thing about him searching for his ball (and nearly always finding it) is that it saves me money on tennis balls! On the negative side, when it's raining, he won't leave until he has found it or is dragged away.
I have noticed though that when another dog is near, he will forget his ball all together and leave it somewhere out of sight in order to go and sniff around the other dog. Then, when 'sniffs' have been exchanged, get back into a "throw the ball for me" position totally forgetting that the ball is still where he dumped it.... and he nearly always dumps it in long grass.
This morning’s early walk was no different. When we met a group of four women and their pooches, he dropped his ball and went to exchange pleasantries.
Sniffing over, I called him back to where he'd last had his ball and told him to find it. He sniffed and snorted through the grass for about five minutes, unearthing not one, not two, but three tennis balls before turning to me in triumph with a fourth (his own) ball stuck in his mouth.
Now that deserved a bit of cheese and he knew it!
I know lots of people have dogs that are clever and do all sorts of tricks but I think my boy Sym, although he doesn't do all the doggy-dancing or party trick stuff, is pretty smart too.
The Last Laugh; It's a Dog's LifeIn the vain hope that the weather will brighten up, I have just hung out
the laundry. Sym, our Border Collie, went into "guard" mode as I struggled to get the king-size duvet covers and the rest of the laundry onto the line.
I really did feel safe in our back garden.
|My boy Sym|
fliers through our letter box.
He really is a big soppy wuss though and loves attention from any quarter ... except tall men wearing black, for some reason. They send him into "don't touch me or I'll kill you" mode, although I hasten to add that he has never actually killed, or even bitten, anyone.
I think this aversion to tall people dressed in black dates back to an incident in the woods around Cardiff when he was about one year old. Someone, who was obviously not dog friendly, gave him a kick and he has never forgotten about it.
Anyway, I didn't log-in this morning to prattle on about my laundry or my dog ... well, not just one dog anyway.
|'Her Ladyship' Sox|
The story I would like to tell you all occurred two days ago when I was walking Sym, Sox (Border Collie X) and Clover (Lab X) in Hailey Park.
As you can probably imagine, this involved much ball throwing and the dispensing of cheddar cheese treats.
We were on our first lap of the park heading, as we always do, towards the old railway bridge that crosses the river Taff.
And there is a hole at the side of the path. As far as I can recollect, this hole ... not deep, but well hidden by long grass ... has been there for at least 5 years. It was probably the work of a dog, rabbit or badger, but it was never completed ... that is to say, no rabbit or badger ever lived in it and no dog buried a bone in it.
As I mentioned, it was over grown and hard to see, but we knew it was there ...somewhere.
As we strolled along the path towards the bridge, Sox took up 'point' and lead the way as she always does. Sym hid himself at the tree line and waited for his ball to be thrown and Clover (bless her) stayed at her 'daddies' heels and kept him company.
I lobbed yet another ball into the skies and Sym took off, intending to intercept it further along its trajectory, thus causing startled Sox to spring sideways and off the path into the long grass.
As I looked, Sox's head and front legs disappeared downwards and her hind legs and tail went straight up into the air.
She had found 'the hole'!
For two or three panicked seconds, she flailed about until she could get some purchase and pull herself out. As she did so, she looked left and then right in an "I hope nobody saw that" sort of way, then looked back directly at me.
I was laughing!
Sox did not look very pleased and walked off in disgust.
Later, on our second lap of the park, we were walking as a fairly tight little group across the area known to some as 'the conservation area', but known to me as 'the place where very few people pick up their dog's doo-doo', when Sox had her revenge.
For some inexplicable reason, someone had taken a grass sod out of the path. It wasn't as if it was good quality grass suitable for a lawn or anything, but it was gone and it left a hole!
Sym was once again restless and eager to be off chasing his ball, so I sent it hurtling along the path in our direction of march. Sox strayed a few yards ahead of me and Clover was ... well, was where she always is ... at my heels.
As I walked, I bent down to give Clover a pat and some encouragement (she has had a difficult past prior to living with us), when suddenly my left foot hit a spot that should have been solid ground, but turned out to be air.
I had walked into the hole left by the grass-sod thief!
Now, to be fair, my reactions were pretty damned good and,
although I stumbled, I never hit the ground!
I did a "Sox" and checked that there was no one around to see me looking stupid.
There was no on in sight ... just Sox!
She was staring straight at me with her wide, Jack-Nicholson's-Joker-like grin and her tail wagging.
I could tell she was thinking "That'll teach you to laugh at me, you ba$t&rd!".
She then went on her way along the path in such a jaunty, bouncy manner that it would have been very hard for anyone watching to believe that she is, in fact, and very old lady.
As we completed our walk, Sym went to chase the squirrels, Clover decided to follow her 'bro', but both Sox and I continued across the fields checking the ground before us very, very carefully indeed.
Doggy Report and the Hailey Park Thick Ear
Those of you that have had the pleasure of meeting Clover when she first came to us would remember a timid and very scared little lady that was afraid of her own shadow. Now she is a confident (to a degree) dog that actually looks forward to outings in the park.
She has come on in leaps and bounds (literally) over the last year and a bit and is now confident enough to go towards people for a little fuss and attention. She no longer has her extraordinary fear of cars and vans and no longer attempts to run into every drive way in order to hide or get into someone else's house. She will run after Sym, or Sox, and has been known to go on her own little explorations into the wilderness. She always keeps her daddy in sight, though, and comes straight back when she hears a whistle.
I am very proud of her achievements.
Sox, on the other hand, is her usual cantankerous old self. She always keeps an eye on us when we go out, but likes to be a little way ahead at all times and, although she knows our route well, always manages to look surprised and somewhat annoyed when we change direction and she has to run to catch up.
Sym, of whom I am the daddy in name only, runs around the trees looking for squirrels to aggravate. After his initial 'scare the buggers to death' charge, which never seems to result in a squirrel snack, he positions himself some distance from me and strikes the typical collie '"I'm waiting" pose. This is my cue to throw his tennis ball as far as possible for him to chase after. This routine, minus the squirrel part, is repeated again and again on out circumnavigations of the park and is only interrupted by the discovery of a puddle, new smell or poo-time (yes! I pick 'em up!).
Today's walk was no different and we were about to set off on our third circuit when I decided to do something I normally wouldn't do ... throw his ball over the bushes to let him search for it (which he would successfully do).
On this occasion I threw the ball and he took off after it. As I stepped off to follow him, something heavy struck my shoulder then bounced up and dinged me in the left ear! I nearly sh....had an accident!
At the same time my ear was being dinged, a voice from behind the bushes said "Oi! Watch what you're doing"!
Still hearing the ringing of many bells in my poor old ear, I set off to investigate, taking with me the object that struck me: a solid rubber, multi-coloured ball.
On the other side of the bushes, I found not only Sym (ball in mouth), but also an elderly couple with a golden retriever.
"Was that your ball?" demanded the man.
"Yes" I replied. "Didn't hit you, did I"?
"No, but was damned close." came the vexed reply.
I showed the man the hard rubber ball and asked "Is this one yours?"
"Yes. Thanks" he said, now slightly sheepishly.
My ear was still smarting as I said "I wasn't so lucky and I copped it right in the lug-hole, mate. Ta very much"!
We parted at that point.
The rest of our walk was, thankfully, painless and uneventful.