AS ever, Buddy, our cute little Cavalier, is keen to go out. But, like a Boy Scout, today’s urban dog-walker has to be prepared. After all, it’s a concrete jungle out there.
So just wait a moment Buddy, while I give my equipment a final once-over . . .
Let’s see now: Poo bags, biodegradable, in handy plastic dispenser (check); poo bags, spare roll (check); tin of treats, chicken flavour (check); water bottle, full, with built-in drinking tray (check); pocket-size edition of Everything You Wanted to Know About the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel But Couldn’t be Bothered Googling (check) . . .
Spare lead and harness (check); canine coat, waterproof (check); canine wraparound belt, hi-viz (check); towel (check); high-pitch, harmless electronic dog scarer (never used, but check) . . .
Torch (check); amber light, flashing, attachable to dog’s collar (check); pair of binoculars for searching in case dog runs off (check); first aid kit (check); Swiss Army knife, made by Victorinox (check); camera (check); space blanket (check); whistle with built-in compass (check); mobile phone with speed dial to the vet (check); iPad Mini with Google Maps app (check) . . .
Third-party insurance certificate (in the unlikely event Buddy savages someone – check); Garmin Forerunner sports watch with satnav to record walk and wirelessly transfer the data to my account on the Strava sports website (check) . . .
Bus pass in case we have to abandon walk (check); 50p piece in case Buddy doesn’t melt the bus driver’s heart and I’m charged the standard fare for ‘sundries’ – ie. a dog (check); mental note of en route litter bins for depositing poo bags (check).
Oh, yes. And a big coat with lots of pockets to carry everything.
Equipment check complete.
Right, Buddy, it’s time to hit those streets. Let’s see now. Lead secured to harness (check) . . . nose twitching (check) . . . tail wagging (check) . . . excited barking (check).
Oh, my goodness! I almost forgot! Face mask and hand gel because of the coronavirus! Where are they? Hope they’re not among all those hoarded toilet rolls in the garage.
But hang on. Calm down. On second thoughts, a face mask and hand gel are exactly what I don’t need. Getting out with your dog in the fresh air for a bit of healthy exercise is among the few al fresco pursuits that are still unbanned in the current crisis.
Come to think of it, dog walking is one of the most enjoyable, interesting, stimulating, satisfying activities you can do at any time – coronoavirus or no coronavirus.
So today, to celebrate this merciful vestige of freedom in locked-down Britain, we’ll travel light. I don’t need all my usual surfeit of stuff jingling and jangling, clunking and clanging, rattling and rumbling in my pockets right now – I’ll just take the poo bags.
Okay, Buddy, let’s get going before Boris Johnson finds out we’re enjoying ourselves.