It is a truly lovely feeling when you see someone coming towards you on a busy high street smiling, because they are looking at your fur ball trotting along with their tongue hanging out. It’s heart warming when people interact with you, your dog and one another on an otherwise silent impersonal tube journey. It feels good to listen to the laughter and comments around you as you perspire profusely while carrying an 18-kilo yeti dog up an escalator or stand to the side to allow him to commando crawl across the Astroturf outside the Ideal Home exhibition.
I love the conversations I have with complete strangers. The young kids that stop me in the park to ask me his name or what breed he is. The ladies in the café who ask me where I got my lead from or admire his chequered neck tie. The staff in our local that think to bring over a bowl of water with ice cubes before I ask. The woman at the busy crossing in Shepherd’s Bush offering me tips for keeping his fur glossy.
And then there is the pure unadulterated pleasure you feel when your dog is first let off its lead and dashes off to roll in the grass, slightly less pleasure felt if cowpats are involved of course. I love it when they get into pounce position, swim in the lake to retrieve a stick and make instant friends with a dog they have never met before. Then you stand still and pass the time of day with their owners talking about the weather, trading tips and sometimes sharing life stories.
Of course, there will always be cat people or people that dart out of the way, because they don’t like dogs or are scared of them, but on the whole dogs bring us together. When you have a dog, you talk to anyone and everyone about just about anything. They help us open up and overcome shyness and who can resist a puppy! When you have a dog, you rarely feel lonely. They really do have a feel good factor. I defy even the most staunch ‘I am not a dog person’ not to smile when they see a dog with its head sticking out of a moving car's window.