Keeping your human pet safe on Dartmoor by Meriadoc Brandybuck-Meggs
I’ve told you before that we recently moved to Tavistock in Devon, right in the middle of Dartmoor! When we first arrived in Tavistock we were living in camping kennels waiting for our brick kennel. The sniffs I caught on the wind there were calling me to new adventures and new explorings. After much nagging at him I managed to get my he human pet to stir himself after his middle-day food bowl and accept we needed a longer stretch of our legs.
I knew where I wanted to go – it was “up there…that way”. (My he human pet said it was called Cox Tor … as far as I was concerned it was “there” and had a sniff value on the wind I wanted to explore more…). My paws have trodden lots of paths in their time including: the big Welsh Hill the name of which I am not sure of but sounded something like “Yr-woofer-da” when I remember being told to “Slow-down” one cold February day; countless 1,000s of paw steps on the South West Coast path in all weathers; and, more big hills in a place with lots of lakes. That was where I had the embarrassment of having to keep an eye on my human pets on a big steep hill called Cat Bells. Luckily I didn’t see any cats (or any bells) but I kept close sniff watch all the same.
On all these walks around Dartmoor, I take my bright yellow coat with me. If things get not nice to be out in us dogs have the sense to find a cosy hedge or wall to snuggle down against. Human pets? Oh no! they just keep going and so I have to make sure I have my extra seeable coat at the ready … And another thing why do human pets assume that we can just drink any old water we find when we are hot? Would they like a nice glass of chilled baah’s poo ale or a mug of iced bracken-n-peat coffee? No I don’t think so either. Luckily I have trained my human pet to take fresh water for me when we go on a hike.
On this pawticular July summers day the sky was clear but as well as my water, I insisted my he human pet take his “essential carrys” with us. I was so glad he did. By the time we were halfway to where I knew we were going I was very thirsty and, as usual, none of the wayside liquids were the least bit tempting – he was thirsty too – and we shared my water. I like to drink from a recycled yoghurt pot (it still sniffs of yoghurt, one of my favourite things and my he human pet says it is light to carry). We also got a bit hungry and although i always get him to take my food bag I am glad I insisted he took some of his own treats including a high value one for when he was being really good. Apparently, it is called chocolate and I am not allowed to eat it.
By the time we got to the top of the walk where the sniffs were coming in every direction, he needed his coat .. and then he got us lost and had to look at the folds of paper instead of believing me. Hmmm, I mean the way back smelt so very clear, I do not know why he didn’t just follow his nose. Then we both stumbled and got hurty’s… he and I both needed the Arnica that I, also, always insist he carry.
So please do not let your human pet embarrass you by getting into trouble on Dartmoor. Even on a nice summer afternoon stroll insist they always carry water for you (and them), some food, the removable coats they call fleeces and waterproofs (odd that, removable coats!) and that folded paper. Why? because a warm day with clear sky can turn to cold with rain and low cloud …even mist or fog in a very short time anywhere on the Moor and they are just not sensible enough like you and I to huddle down somewhere. Human pets get into stubborn head mode and keep walking in the horribleness just to keep to that artificial human version of “time”.
Anyway, walking in winter adventures will soon be here now that the leaves are falling, but next time I need to tell you about the best, and I mean the very best, sniff stop in Tavistock.
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About the Author: Meriadoc Brandybuck-Meggs is a Dorset born and bred gentleman recently migrated to Devon. In his maturing 12 years he has accrued a wealth of insight and knowledge about how to try and prevent human pets from getting into too much danger in the big outdoors whilst being taken for a walk.