The Old Bat and I have owned dogs since just a year after we were married. We have never owned more than one dog at a time, and there have on occasion been gaps of several months when we have been without a canine companion. Owning a dog is not something that should be undertaken lightly or without due consideration: as one of the country's leading dog welfare charities says, a dog is for life - not just Christmas. Dogs are demanding pets. They need feeding, naturally, and regular visits to the vet for innoculations - and these don't come on the National Health. What's more, dogs need regular exercise.
For me, that last is one of the benefits of dog ownership. Before I retired, I walked the dog only at the weekends - or occasionally during summer evenings. After I retired, the Old Bat and I shared the pleasure of walking our golden retriever. She (the dog) was getting old by then, blind and suffering from arthritis - but she still wanted her walk every day. We now have a springer spaniel which we acquired as a pup. Officially she is my wife's dog, but Fern doesn't realise that and is happy to accept that she belongs to both of us. She would prefer to belong to my daughter, who lives more than 100 miles away so is seen by Fern only infrequently, who is worshipped by the dog for reasons none of us have managed to work out.
Anyway, Fern joined our household after I retired but while my wife was still working, albeit mornings only. As a pup, the dog needed more exercise that our old dog and we fell into the habit of walking her twice a day. I took her in the mornings and, on three days a week, my wife took her in the afternoon. We have never broken the habit of twice-daily walks but the Old Bat can no longer manage them so both walks are down to me. The morning walk is just to our local park but in the afternoons I vary our route and head for the South Downs which lie just behind our house. I really enjoy those walks in the glorious Sussex countryside, walks I would never bother to take were it not for the dog.
I stumbled across a blogging community calling itself City Daily Photographers or some such - the idea being that each should post a picture of their city or town on a daily basis. I decided to join in, mostly with pictures of the local countryside but occasional shots of Brighton appear. Since I started doing this I have found myself seeing things I was only looking at before (if you see what I mean). Anyway, the pics are over here at Stanmer & Around.