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Texting and dog walking: a cautionary tale

I watched the weather forecast this morning which informed me that the morning would be dry but by the afternoon heavy rain would set in. So I decided to switch my day around and walk the dogs in the morning to avoid getting wet. (Remember me not wanting to get wet later in the story.)

So off we set, and because it was muddy I had wellingtons on which soon began to drag my socks down. I stopped by a bench to readjust, careful to only lean on the bench which was sopping wet, to avoid getting a wet or dirty bottom. (Again remember me not wanting a wet or dirty bottom later in the story.) Before long both dogs had pooped and been scooped, and I knew I had a few minutes in which I could text a family friend with some happy family news we had recently. So I dug out my phone and continued along the way, concentrating on my phone screen. After maybe thirty seconds, I was walking on a muddy downhill slope, still mainly focusing on the message I was typing on my phone.

Suddenly the world lurched to the side as I landed flat on my back on the floor. I was sitting in mud. I had dropped both dogs' leads, and even worse my phone had fallen into a patch of nettles. My first instinct was to look around me quickly to see if anyone else had witnessed my loss of dignity. Fortunately the only eyes on me were those of Buddy and Star, who had not taken the opportunity to make the most of their unexpected freedom and run off, but stood regarding me with the air of, "Well that's new, are we meant to join her in the mud?" The expressions on their faces were so puzzled and comical I couldn't help but laugh, and I also saw the absurdity of striving to avoid the rain and the wet bench, but still ending up with most of my back covered in very chilly mud.

I picked up the dog leads, tentatively fished my phone out of the stinging nettle patch, and completed the walk with an increasingly cold and soggy bottom, but I had only myself to blame - I should have kept my mind on what I was doing. As I write this my jeans and coat are in the washing machine, and I am warming up with a coffee, and I'm just glad I saw where my phone landed, otherwise I'd have had to rush home to get another mobile and return to phone it and locate it by sound.

I recall another time I ended up in the mud. On that occasion I was making a preliminary visit to a wolf sanctuary which you can hear about in Episode 37 of DogCast Radio. My own car was in the garage so I'd borrowed my Mom's. Had I known how remote the sanctuary I would have thought twice about driving there in an unfamiliar car. I was navigating the kind of twisty turny lanes where even your GPS starts saying things like, "I think it's a right turn now, but I'm not really sure."

I finally found the place, which was well worth the journey, and was having a tour with Tony who lives onsite. It was autumn then too, and the ground was a quagmire, and inevitably I found myself slipping. I panicked knowing my mother would not take kindly to me putting a muddy behind on her driver's seat, so I threw myself forward when I knew that falling was unavoidable. I didn't get any mud on my clothes and came to rest precariously, still on my feet but with my hands buried up to the wrists in gooey, slimy, cold mud. The gallant Tony grasped my mud encased hands and helped me get upright again, and my Mom never knew how close her car seat came to being dirtied.

So what's the moral of the story? I'm hoping it just might be, "When it's muddy get your husband to walk the dogs." Purely on health and safety grounds you understand.

Take care,
Julie x


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