It's a dog's life for pooch and his park chums
Mums with their first toddlers are the biggest humblebraggers of them all.
Around the time of their first visit to playgroup they trot out the line: “Ooh, little Josh/Armani/Hashtag has got a better social life than me!”
There’s a reason for that.
Mums with toddlers have spent the last three years pregnant, suffering from morning sickness and chronic sleep deprivation, up to their elbows in dirty nappies and have seen their figures change from hourglass to pint glass, while being handcuffed to a shrieking maniac.
You might think your kid’s got a busy social life, rolling around a sports hall with a load of other little Hitlers one morning a week, but I bet my one-year-old lurcher Walter’s got more friends – I’d say about 20. Okay, so all Walter’s friends have got four legs and a waggy tail.
But I know them all by name, even if I’ve no idea what their owners are called because I’ve seen them around the park 10 times now and it’s gone past the stage where it’s still polite to ask.
His best friend in the whole world is his brother from the same litter. They meet up on the beach every two or three weeks and it’s like watching the greyhounds on TV, with a bit of UFC thrown in for good measure.
Sprinting in giant circles, biting and play-fighting for an hour.
They’re so alike it’s like a glitch in the matrix.
After that we have to shovel Walter’s exhausted body off the sand and he’s good for nothing for the rest of the day.
Then there’s a Jack Russell, two beagles, the biggest Great Dane you’ve ever seen in your life, some spaniels, a boxer, a trio of Labradors and a huge pack of other dogs he bolts around with after nicking their tennis ball and running off with it for a chase.
Not border collies though. For some reason they’ll have nothing to do with him.
Because saluki/whippet crosses like Walter are as obedient as your average beagle (honestly, it’s like herding cats), everybody we meet in Williamson Park knows his name, probably because we’ve been bellowing it across wide open spaces ever since we first let him off the lead as a four-month-old pup.
If you ever hear someone shouting: “WAAAAALLLTERRRR! COME!” to a brown flash disappearing over the horizon at 40mph, come and say hello.