I’m on day two of my week of house-sitting, the main duties of which are in fact dog-sitting. I would never describe myself as an animal lover. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a child, when we found a lost rabbit in our garden, I suggested that we eat it. I never wanted to be a vet, nor begged for a pony. In recent years, though, I’d thought I’d detected a change of heart. A former beau had a dog that I adored. I’m a big fan of Springwatch/Autumnwatch. I’d even convinced myself that I wanted a dog of my own. It’s probably a good thing, then, that I’ve had this week as a kind of “work experience” for dog ownership. “How lovely,” I mused last night, “Bank Holiday tomorrow – no need to set an alarm, can have a leisurely breakfast then can go for a lovely long stroll with my charge.” Only pets, like children, have other ideas. At 8am, I realised if I didn’t take him for a walk soon-ish then I’d have a serious clean up job. I looked more bag lady than County Set as I stumbled along behind him down the lanes. Ditto this evening, as the sheets of rain came tumbling down on us. It’s not so much that I minded walking in the wet – it was actually quite refreshing. What bothered me more was how the realities of dog ownership have bought my carefully constructed fantasy crashing down so quickly. It’s seems that old habits die hard, and perhaps my conversion to animal loving isn’t as complete as I’d imagined. Although I was still super duper excited that three weeks of Springwatch started tonight. Time to dig out my nature related brooches in homage.

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