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Man's Best Friend

I never really got it when dog owners talked about ‘Man’s Best Friend.’

That the dog is part of the family.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”


But now I’m starting to understand.

I’ve had Tip for four weeks now and I can honestly say that she is bringing joy back into my life.

She is a very gently soul and we have bonded completely together. She is my friend.

I find myself chatting to her, telling her irrelevant stuff, but somehow, she seems to understand what I am prattling on about.

We spend hours up on the fells together. She loves the freedom to have a good run, but she is never very far away. One call and she is back at my side.

Her retrieval skills are lacking somewhat... not good for an assistance dog! She hasn’t got the hang of bringing the ball back to me yet. She loves chasing after it and then sits next to the ball, waiting for me to catch them up! Hopefully our next training session will sort out this little problem.

She is making me get back outside. At 6am each morning she wakes me up with a little tap on the end of my nose. She is so excited to see me. I grab some clothes, make a coffee in my travel mug and we are then up and out onto the fells for a couple of hours.

It is dark when we set off, but that doesn’t worry me. I know these fells like the back on my hand. I have my usual route, one that my family and friends know where I will be. I get to ‘our place’, a spot that Andy and I called our ‘Channel 5 spot’ - a place where we filmed, funnily enough with Channel 5, a spot where the world seems to open up in front of you and there are 360-degree views all around... Wild Boar Fell in front of us, the distance silhouette of the Lake District to the right, the North Pennines curling around the back. It is a place of calm, peace and tranquility. Whilst Tip runs around, I drink my coffee and have a chat with Andy.

I know he is there. I can feel that he is there. I can talk out loud without fear of sounding daft. In the likelihood of someone being around I would just look like I was talking to Tip. I always feel so much better after our chat. Here I can iron out any problems I’m facing and I get the courage I need to tackle any challenges.

Once home, we have breakfast and then get ready to face the day ahead.

Tip goes everywhere with me now. I’m loving introducing her to new experiences. We have been on the boat on Derwent Water. She was very hesitant at climbing onboard and needed lifting over onto the deck, but once one board she loved it, sniffing the air as we sailed down the water. I hope that when we get back out paddleboarding in the spring, she will be able to sit on the board with me. That will be fun!

As Roger Caras, photographer and writer said “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

I look forward to our many adventures together.


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