I often see dog walkers in the park, indeed our lovely Debbie walks the boys from time to time when I’m out in the morning or I don’t want to leave the dogs at home alone for too long. Debbie is sensible and intelligent and nice but I have met too many other dog walkers who don’t appear to possess a brain.

I don’t like to see dogs walked on leads all the time. They get more exercise running about having fun, and Oscar is invariably off lead where it is safe and legal. But beagles are independent-minded dogs and, sadly, Raffles has never really learnt recall over large distances. In Singapore, where he lived the first couple of years of his life, dogs aren’t allowed off lead so this was never an issue. He is a nose on legs; and he loves the company of other dogs. He will always become distracted by saying hello but usually comes back to me promptly.

Today, I walked the dogs in our park and, as usual, let Raffles off his lead. Almost immediately on entering the park, Raffles was distracted by a group of dogs with their walker – there were five even though the rules state that each person should be in charge of a maximum of four – and would not come back.

I waited and waited but the dog walker did not do the logical thing which was to walk towards me with her dogs to give me a chance of tempting Raffles away. She must have been able to see me waiting there – it wasn’t far away. ┬áSo I slowly walked out of sight, hoping he would come. He normally comes. Ask any beagle owner: their dog works to their own timetable but inevitably comes back.

Anyway, this dogwalker decided that she was going to intervene. She called me up and lectured me about keeping my dog on a long lead and then said she would put him in her car and then drop him around to the other end of the park, where Oscar and I were waiting. She then abruptly hung up.

Well, I waited and waited for her, and texted and called her but there was no reply. And then I received a call from her friend Jan. When I voiced my gratitude, she immediately tore me off a strip for abandoning my dog and leaving the park. She’d obviously got the wrong end of the stick but wasn’t going to listen to me.

So Oscar and I trudged back to recover Raffles, and she accused me of all sorts of things. I put her straight, she apologised for raising her voice. I was pretty irate at the accusations by this point but, realising there was no point saying any more, I thanked her again and then stalked off, furious. Then the following text conversation ensued:

 

Hello. We are waiting in Downham corner of park. Were you going to drive round or have you left Raffles where he was please?

I had to borrow a lead and get my friend Jan ti sort it I’m sure she’s rung u by now…I’m running other dogs home

Ok. I understand, which is why I texted you.

Before you rang off, you said you’d run Raffles around to the Downham field, which is why I waited there for a while.

In fact I waited in both of the other fields for some time for Raffles to run back to me, which is what he normally does, eventually, as I explained to you.

Shortly after I called and texted you, your friend Jan called me and, though I expressed my gratitude to her, shouted at me.

When I walked back the two fields to collect Raffles, she made all sorts of wild accusations and cast all sorts of aspersions. Though I tried to explain the full situation, she is clearly not the sort of person capable of listening to anything that conflicts with her preconceived and ill-thought through ideas so I thanked her again and walked away.

Thank you for your concern.

Gita

Glad Raffles is reunited with u. I was extremely busy today walking clients dogs and had to dash off, I can’t believe Jan would’ve shouted at you but obviously felt that maybe u should b more responsible towards your dog nd it would’ve been nice if u’d spent as much effort with him as you did in sending such a long txt to me.

Neither you nor she have any idea of the effort or time I spend with him.< I have tried to be conciliatory but you seem to insist that you know my dog better than me and can come to snap judgements about me based on no evidence whatsoever.

I gave you options; you hung up on me, having lectured me but without clarifying what you were going to do at that moment.

You can disbelieve me if you like but both Jan and I know the truth and she apologised to me.

I just wanted you to know the truth. At no time did I ever leave the park, which is what you seem to have passed on to Jan. Perhaps you prefer to stick with your defamatory version. Fair enough.

I do wonder why I have the misfortune of encountering these ghastly people. Incidentally, people who use “u” instead of “you” in texts incur my full wrath and hatred. I have a cold and I’ve had a horrible weekend. This just about capped it all for me. Ugh.