All posts tagged 'dogs'

A Shaggy Dog Story (sorry, lost for title inspiration!)

by The Ramblings of a Menopausal Runner, with Hilary Jones Wednesday, February 5 2014

As I look out of my window, it’s not a nice view – heavy rain and blustery winds – but I wont complain because I know a lot of other places around the country are having it an awful lot worse.   This morning I even saw cottages in Sole Street with sandbags out front.  Perhaps it just seems worse because of the last few days of sunshine. 

On Sunday I went for a run around the A2 activity park and was absolutely amazed by the number of people out using the facilities.  And I mean the park itself, not the Cyclopark – although that’s obviously a big success.  I’m not sure whether this vast turnout was due to the weather or if it was because I usually run through the park during the week when it’s very quiet other than the odd dog walker.   But it was great to see so many people outside and getting active – I can’t think of a better use for a former A road! 

I am lucky with my running surroundings.  When I first started I used to keep to “urban” areas, running around the Gravesend streets, dodging in and out of traffic, in the belief that would be safer than more isolated areas.  But now I’ve got a bit braver and not only do I have Shorne Woods a couple of miles away, the activity park is literally across the road and Jeskyns Park is just a short jog up a very steep hill!! 

I noticed when driving past said Park this morning that the new cafe is now open so time for a quick caffeine shot on my next venture inside.  It’s probably two years since I last ran through Jeskyns but now I’ve found my running legs again I’m looking forward to getting back out there – although I might leave it a few weeks until (hopefully) the rain has stopped and the ground has dried out.  Although I could keep to the paths, I do like to go “off piste” occasionally!  And it’ll be good to see if any new structures have appeared and whether the alpacas are still in evidence.

I understand Radio Kent had a phone in recently regarding a bit of a debacle about dog owners keeping their animals on leads when using Jeskyns.  I have to say that in my experience both in Jeskyns and the activity park, the vast majority of dog owners are very respectful of runners and walkers and will always either reattach their dogs’ leads or at the very least call them to heel and keep them under control until I have passed.  And I always try to engage with any upcoming dogs by smiling at them inanely in the vane hope that will prevent me feeling a sharp pain in one of my calves or if they’re a big dog, my gluteus maximus!  It’s worked so far but maybe that’s just my inane smiling making them feel a bit uneasy and they are really cowering, waiting for me to hurry passed.


But then again, perhaps the debacle is more geared towards dog on dog action!  And you can interpret that anyway you wish!

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Categories: Running

My animal instinct tells me to avoid having pets

by The Codgers' Club Friday, January 25 2013

by David Jones

A "pet" dog which took a lump out of a family friend’s hand the other day reminded me why I’m not a great lover of man’s best friend. That goes for cats, too.

Considering there are roughly about 10 million cats and about the same number of dogs in the UK, it’s clear that a great many people do not share my views.

Cats, well, they can never really be “pets” in the true sense as they do their own thing most of the time, not to mention bringing in the occasional dismembered mouse or sparrow.

Maybe I’ve got a hang-up from my childhood, when my parents had a cat. I can still recall the unruly feline’s habit of sharpening its claws on the arm of our sofa, or jumping up on my back and then sliding down with its claws extended. If there had been such a thing as an Asbo for cats, my parents’ maniacal moggie would have fully deserved one.

Dogs, well, it’s much easier to make a case for them as pets. And, of course, taking a dog for a walk would force me into some much needed exercise.

On the other hand, the prospect of carrying a plastic bag to scoop up the pooch’s mess makes me feel quite queasy. Then there’s the problem of what to do with Rover when you go on holiday. This is all just too much hassle for me. I prefer to live in a pet-free environment.

My ramblings about pets bring me neatly on to the main point I want to make: don’t forget that domesticated animals, and dogs in particular, can still be dangerous, however “cute” they may appear.

I have even been bitten by my kids’ pets, a hamster and a rabbit, though not at the same time. Admittedly, though, not many people have been savaged by a goldfish.

Our friend was attacked by a dog as we were leaving a pub after a lunchtime drink. The terrier-type canine yelped extremely loudly, then jumped up and bit her finger. All she had done was to bend down slightly to take a closer look at it.

The animal’s owner immediately retorted: “Well, you shouldn’t have bent down.” An absurd comment, because that meant that any passing stranger stopping to look at the “cute” dog was in danger of being attacked. A child could have ended up minus a nose.

The moral of this story is that no dog can ever be fully trusted. No matter how cute and cuddly it might appear, there’s always a danger that their base animal instincts will surface when you least expect it.

“Never put your face close to a dog, even if it’s your own. They are unpredictable.” That was the message drummed into me when I was a kid and I still remember it to this day. Fifty years on, that message still holds good. Beware of the dog.

Having said that, I am fully aware that, for millions of people, dogs are much loved pets, a source of both companionship and joy.

By the way, my wife disagrees with almost every word I have written, except for the sentence above this one – and she wants a dog for a pet, now that we have both retired. But I’m going to take a lot of persuading. Happy dog stories, or letters of complaint from dog lovers, can be addressed to me, via the Medway Messenger.

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Categories: Animals | Moans and groans | Pets

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