Adventures in dog walking,  Anna and Elsa,  Fur parenting,  Phil

Adventures in dog walking, part three

Monday, 12th April: It’s the first day since last summer that a few Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.  Today, pub gardens are open again, hairdressers and even gyms are available, once again… well two out of three aren’t bad. 

So, when we went out to our local park this morning, I expected to see people running around the field, playing games, and generally having fun, especially since schools are closed this week for the remainder of Easter break. But, to my surprise, no kids, no adults; the fields were empty. Well, there was eventually one other dog walker, and it was good as I knew them and we were able to walk together and chat a little.

An hour or so later, as I returned, I received a call asking if we’d like to join our friends for a walk again. It’s so nice of them to remember us like this. I’ve just been out, but the dogs still have a lot of energy, restrictions are being lifted, we can see friends outside, and we’ve missed them so much, so of course!  Back over to Dorney Wetlands, Windsor again. Could Anna and Elsa be getting more comfortable with car travel?  Hardly any squealing from Elsa and no complaints or sickness from Anna over the 3 mile drive… such a success.

Because of the fun of our previous walk at Dorney, I kept the girls on lead until we arrived at a part where there were no pathways before letting them run with no risk of chasing bicycles. Elsa was running around, or, perhaps it would better be described as bouncing like a spring lamb, while Anna just did her own thing, seemingly oblivious to the rest of us.

While we were there, Anna and Elsa met a few other dogs while off-lead, the other owners were lovely with friendly dogs, also off-lead, and commented all the time on how cute they were and how they loved their white spots. But, confidence high, we couldn’t stop them then running up to play with a further dog that was on lead.  Cue awkward apologies and quick fumbling to get the girls back on lead and under control so the other dog could get past without disruption.

Two steps forward, one step back with the training.  It’s such a disappointment when you think ‘come’ is a command they’re finally obeying consistently only to find that the excitement of play puts the lessons learned to the back of their minds.

Puppy training challenge number four:  Leave that gross thing alone!

aka:  Elsa discovers horse manure – YUCK!

A little while later, we were walking along the pathway and didn’t think much about the evidence that it was a frequent bridle path, too.  It’s a common occurrence on country roads around here; no big deal.  I suddenly realised that while Anna was calmly walking in front of us, Elsa was nowhere to be seen. Looking back a way, we saw Elsa, but really wish we hadn’t. Yes, you guessed it. She was eating it.  I felt sick, all the while trying to stop her. She decided it was a fun game and picked up a nice lump in her mouth, and ran around with it for us to chase her. DISGUSTING!!!!

So, as quick as I could finally tempt her back to me and away from the manure with treats, she was back on lead. And, not wanting to miss out on anything her sister experienced, Anna decided she wanted to try, too.  Fortunately, she didn’t enjoy it and put it down very quickly.

Dog owners MUST pick up after their dogs. Why is it okay for horse owners to leave theirs wherever it drops, in the middle of paths and roads without having to at least sweep it off to the side? Everyone complains about dogs, but rarely mention horse mess.

Even with these little nuisances, it was a lovely walk. It’s hard to believe that these idyllic countryside views, walks through large green fields, the sound of the water on the Jubilee River, the open air, countryside smells, sounds of birds and cows, herons and both black swans and white swans by the water, are within 5-minutes from the busy and very noisy M4 motorway. Hard to believe that if you look one direction, you can see the impressive Windsor Castle, yet turn around and the Slough trading estate chimney stacks loom large.

Puppy lesson learned:  being behaved while the fur parents eat dinner.

As our walk ended, we decided to go for some lunch.  This deserves to be advertised to the masses; it’s so normal following our Covid year!  We went to the nearby Crocus at Dorney Court garden centre to see if their open air dining was available, and happily it was. We parked in their ample car park and found they were dog friendly around their garden centre and the outdoor seating area. They were operating Track and Trace, so we provided our names and phone number (in case we needed to be informed of any issues that occur in relation to the Covid-19 virus). We donned our facemasks which had to stay on until our food arrived, and proceeded to our garden table.

The staff were so friendly and accommodating. Our fur babies were given dog biscuits and water. And each table was under its own little open air tent. We could see that they were deep cleaning each area after guests finished.  I ordered the gammon, eggs and chips. Oh my goodness, that hit the spot! Pure runny yellow gorgeousness. Also on our table, soup and sandwich, and the vegetarian falafel burger — that was very colourful, and, while not my kind of thing, was apparently very nice indeed. A little way away from the tables, there was a kids’ play area, too.  It was nice to see such a normal scene with the parents out with their kids and having fun playing. If you fancy a visit, be sure to check their website:

Sadly, on our trip back home, while the dogs were quiet, Anna was sick. Again.  And Elsa decided to lick it up before we could park and get it cleaned.  Yuck, again. What is it about some dogs and eating disgusting things?  You try to lick my face with that mouth, Elsa.  Gross!

What about you? 

Do you have a favourite dog-friendly restaurant?  Do you know a dog with similar disgusting eating habits?  Share your experiences below.