Day 6 of Holidays

Yesterday was the first day that the puppies were allowed to have a walk in the big bad world, now that it is a week since their last injections. So they celebrated in style with three walks in total : one just with me, I took them along on my morning walk with their parents. We walked along the cliff path together, with them either following me or Ruby, but they never strayed far. The only issue on their first walk was when a jogger approached and she was a scary sight and Betty took off back towards home, but I called her and she bravely came back. I thought they would be exhausted once they got home from their big adventure, but instead, the walk energised them and they tore around the house, upstairs and round and round my bed chasing each other.

Once the boys were finally up and dressed, I packed a picnic lunch and we all went on a favourite walk of ours. Again the puppies were surprisingly confident, exploring and leading the way at times. When we stopped on a bench to eat our sandwiches, they were more interested in Joshua’s rejected ham butties than the Down that we were on top of. They sat with us hoping for scraps  and bravely observed passing dogs.We then went to explore another small seaside town but took turns in looking around ,as Joshua was dozing in the back of the car . Then on the way home, we went back up Culver Down where we were greeted by Chalkhill Blue butterflies as we got out of the car. Joshua happily strode out , holding his dad’s hand and I brought up the year with the puppies. When Joshua felt he had walked far enough, we got the rug out and sat down to play ball and to admire the spectacular scenery. We met a Grandmother with her two grandchildren in their early teens on the way back and they loved the puppies, asking all kinds of questions as they played with one each. As we parted, the Grandmother thanked us for sharing our dogs with them and she walked away saying that was ‘ a real family walk’ which made me smile as it was : our family of three and the canine family of Mum, Dad and two babies!

We have not got puppy leads yet, so all three walks were ones where they could run free, in safety, as soon as they left the house or the car, and their parents took as much care of the beginners as we did.They were much braver than I expected them to be but perhaps they just do not know what to be afraid of yet, as they trust everyone and everything. While I love that they were friendly with the family, they need to learn some wariness, that not everyone is kind. Joshua needs to learn that lesson too : he assumes that everyone will like him and that nobody will harm him, as a result he has no real concept of stranger danger. I am certain that he would follow anyone- especially a Granny-type or an attractive young lady with long hair – as he shows real innocence and trust in strangers. It is a great skill to be open and friendly, both the puppies and Joshua have clearly learnt that skill, but they all need to develop a limit in the trust that they show to strangers, for their own self-preservation. I suspect that the puppies will achieve that wariness before Joshua does.

Pleased to Meet you

Joshua went out with a new Direct Payments key worker yesterday, for the first time and it was fascinating to see how he behaved. I have known her for a long time but Joshua was only young when we used to socialise in the same circles, when her now 16 year old daughter was pre-school and of course, her six year old did not exist.

He came to the front door when they knocked to see who had come to visit, she had brought her mother and son along and the plan was to walk up to our local open farm together. Joshua smiled at them then regarded them all with caution, trying to work out what was going on as Mum seemed to be telling all his secrets to this lady! Rather than willingly jumping into his wheelchair, as he does when Yorkshire Grandma takes him out, he was cautious and began sweeping up outside and had to be coaxed into the wheelchair. We kissed him goodbye and away he went, while I worked from home. We agreed to 5 hours together as their first outing.

Joshua arrived back at 3pm, as arranged, and as we talked outside, he took up sweeping the yard again, smiling shyly at the 16 year old daughter who had joined them. I heard how he had been and round their house, he had made himself very much at home – laid down on the settee and pulled a throw over himself and I have seen photographs, of him stroking the young girl’s long blonde hair!

I very much hope that they will want to have Joshua again, so that we have a back up plan for Yorkshire Grandma. But I realised how much knowledge she has of Joshua, knowing him all of his life. I forgot to warn them how much he likes mobile phones – apparently he ‘licked’ theirs and that he steals food from others’ plates – he ate Grandma’s scone with cream, amongst other snippets of knowledge.

As well as being pleased that we may be forming a new relationship with a whole family, not just Mum, I was pleased to see that Joshua was more wary of strangers than I had expected. I always thought that being so sociable, that he would go off with anybody. But his clear shyness – they even commented at the Farm how quiet he was yesterday as they see him a lot – was a relief to me really. He showed more social awareness than I expected. He was flashing his tummy at them when they brought him home, so he had gained more confidence, but he had then had 5 hours in their company and so, he could consider them friends at that point.

I hope that this relationship will go from strength to strength so that they can all get to know each other and spend more time together. Their first meeting was a success so, onward and upwards.