So the day came.
Nearby there is a forest. A beautiful ancient forest entwined with history dating back to the Norman times.
I had never been there before, as my dogs had always loved the local walk than runs just behind our house. For Brin, this would not have been suitable as it’s long narrow paths were also frequented by cyclists and joggers and I felt to face the possibility of locals being eaten was not the best way forward.
Setting off on a cool spring morning I arrived at the car park and scanned the area for any sign of trouble in the form of owners and dogs. Brin was up at the window also scanning. It was all clear.
Using my ‘wait! or I will slam the door on you for next 60 minutes’ voice Brin did as he was told and I opened the door to take hold of the lead.
I did not know just how big this forest was but I could see was well trodden paths that led down into, what I hoped, would be good experience for this little brown dog..so off we went together on our first adventure ‘into the wild’.
I decided to take, what seemed, the quieter less populated path as I wanted to avoid too much confrontation on our first major walk together.
Somehow, I must have taken a wrong turn.
Deeper and deeper into thick forest we went and Brin, in his ever helpful fashion, decided to sniff each and every leaf, petal and blade of grass. This was quite incredible to watch as he would close his eyes and seemingly drink in what ever he had zoned in on. He was also incredibly stubborn.
Dogs from Afghanistan have very large, webbed feet that seem to become suction pads when they decide to stop to explore. Nothing will budge them and to save my arm from being pulled out of its socket I slowed my pace to allow him his moments. Everything was totally new to him and I really wanted him to enjoy the learning process of becoming a normal dog.
He also spent ages looking up trees until he was satisfied with whatever he was looking for wasn’t, in fact, there. Diving down critter dens, digging up mole-hills all became part of his first trek experience and soon every step was taking longer than the one before.
Eventually, we came to a clearing where a wide lake, full of ducks, rippled and glittered in the mid-day sun.
A passing Coot, who drifted by, caught Brin unawares and I suddenly had visions of swimming while hanging on to him for dear life. Thankfully, he just followed it with his eyes and continued with his endless search for the perfect smell.
Keeping an eye out for dogs, we were able to continue our walk but I seriously had no idea where we were.
Two hours later Brin and I were getting deeper and deeper into the forest and I was becoming exhausted. Because of the path we were on I had not seen or heard anyone for all that time and I had no signal on my phone.
Sitting down on tree stump to rest, Brin waited patiently by my side happily rooting around in the undergrowth. Suddenly, he shot across the path leaving me no time to react other than holding on tight to the lead.
Running with him was not an option, as he had moved so fast I had no time to stand up so ended up on my knees clinging desperately to the nearest tree, a young sapling, that lifted gracefully out of the ground and travelled with me in a peculiar dance spectacle that rivalled Fred Astaire.
Brin, thankfully, came to a sudden halt and began to bark furiously up a tree and, from where I was laying, I spied a young squirrel gazing down at me as if I was some new kind of nut.
So there and then I knew there was yet another no go item to add to my list of ‘Brin avoidance’ moments.
One hour later and I made it back to the car park, battered, covered in mud and slightly bruised but trailing a happy but tired little brown dog who jumped in the car and promptly fell asleep.
The next day I bought serious, heavy-duty walking boots in my determination to stay on my feet for longer the next time we ventured out together…