Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. We have never taken you for a blast in the park since we started our blog. My human ensures that I get plenty of exercise every day. We try to get out into the countryside a few times a week. As you know, if you have read any of our previous ramblings, we love to mix things up. We love the hills, canal walks, overnighters, where we camp and of course, multi-day treks. Something else that I love is playing in the park with a ball. We are fortunate that we can walk to (and sometimes, drive to) a lovely Community Park. Wigg Island is my favourite local park because it is so varied. I can sniff out birds in the bushes or simply run around like a crazy thing. I love chasing my ball and sometimes returning it for my human to throw again. After a while I can lose interest in the ball and pick up sticks to chomp on.
On this occasion my lazy human chose to drive to Wigg Island saying that heavy showers were forecast. It was sunny with clear skies so I don’t understand where the rain was going to come from. Anyway, the park is only a few minutes from home in the car so, I would be running around in no time. My human likes to sing to himself especially when we are driving and the radio is playing in the car. This time he was singing along to ‘Ace of Spades’ by Motorhead. He even tried to sing like Lemmy. It was painful. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car.
We parked in one of the few roadside parking spots outside of the main carpark. My human said that the park gates are closed at 8pm and we didn’t want to be locked in. It was 6:30pm and we never spend an hour and a half in there. I don’t understand clocks and time but, I knew that the gates wouldn’t be locked by the time that we had finished playing.
My first job, after having a pee on the grass of couse, was to have a good sniff around. I needed to check if any other pooches had been in the area lately. They shouldn’t have because, I put a lot of effort into marking this territory for myself to rule. Joe’s kingdom!
My second job when we arrive is to find a suitable stick. Sticks vary in sizes, as you probably are aware, but there is a hierarchy. Little sticks are fine and if they break up easily, the big feller makes me drop them in case they splinter. ‘Joe, drop!’ If it is a hard small stick I am allowed to carry it but, I continue to stay on the look out for bigger chunks of wood. If it fits in my mouth and is huge, I will carry it as far as I can. You can’t beat a tree branch to struggle along with. My human calls me ‘The Branch Manager’. He thinks that he is a comedian. We know better, don’t we?
It is never long before I get to chase my ball. My human likes to throw it as far as he can. He thinks that by getting me to sprint around on a field that it will tire me out so that he can have some peace when we get back home. Well, that’s not happening! What made me laugh on this occasion, was that the ball did not fit properly in the ball chucking thingy. So, when he threw my ball, it stuck in the chucker a little, and flew out in all directions. Sometimes straight at the ground, bouncing high into the air and at other times, backwards behind him. How am I supposed to chase a ball that doesn’t fly to where it should. I must have ten or more balls that he could use so, why bring the wrong one?
Eventually, my human worked out how to load the ball into the chucker so that it would go in the right direction. It was sprint time! I can sprint like a greyhound! Well, that’s not quite true but, I am quite fast. Faster than my human. Ha!
After I had chased the ball a few times and sometimes returned it, I decided that it was time to investigate in the bushes. I could definitely smell squirrel but, could I find one? No I couldn’t. I do tend to get overexcited when I pick up on a scent and zoom around hunting for the bushy tailed tree rats!
On the opposite side of the bushes and a line of trees, there is a huge field that I can sprint around on. When I was young my human used this field to try to train me to come back to him when he called. I was apparently a nightmare at first and I used to run into the trees. I would return to him when I was ready. He used to get stressed because I would disappear. Only for seconds but, he would come running after me in a panic. It was great fun! Ha!
My dad threw my ball for me again on this field but, I must admit that I chased it, picked it up and then dropped it. I wasn’t in the mood to run after it and then run back to my human. He could come and pick it up himself. I was too busy on the hunt for sticks.
OK dad, enough is enough. He wants to try sprinting around a field like he wants me to do. I was ready for a rest and a chomp on a stick. It took me a couple of minutes until I found a suitable one but, I persevered and found a beaut!
One of the problems that I have is that I need to carry my new stick and my ball at the same time. This is a problem that I come across far too often. Unfortunately, my mouth isn’t big enough to carry both. If my human picks my ball up I want it back straight away and if he picks the stick up, I want that. Life is full of confusion and decisions. I can’t cope with all this stress!
I lost interest in both the ball and the stick after a while. It was time to have a sniff around again. The big feller had to amuse himself, which he did by trying to take photographs of me. He kept asking me to look at him while he took the snaps. I wouldn’t do it because I was busy sniffing. I was thinking that he needs to get his priorities in order.
He tried to get me interested in the ball again but, something had been running around on the field. Rabbits I reckon. ‘Joe, get your head out of there’ was my dads’s response when I stuck my head in a rabbit hole. I was thinking that I am no Alice in Wonderland, so I won’t be falling into another world. I was just having a sniff at the entrance. He needs to chill!
My human always tries to take close up photographs of me. He managed to take a few this time but, he had to pick a moment when I had Cocker snot on my nose. It isn’t my best look but, I am not a model, I am a pooch playing on a field. We had spent over an hour playing on the fields so I was wiped out. It was time to go home.
At Wigg Island there is a bird hide where you can look across the mudflats at the wading birds and across to Widnes and the Mersey Gateway Bridge. My human always lifts me onto the bench so that I can have a look. I am not sure why because, he won’t let me swim in the river or run on the sand banks. He is probably right. Well, he says that he is.