First encounter is with a Weimeraner, his harness being held firmly by an anxious owner. I steer clear and focus on leaf sniffing.
The brown-skinned runner flashes past. We see him circuiting the park every morning. Gail admires his lithe movement.
Next we meet more regulars, deaf Sheila and her blind and diabetic wee schnauzer Sadie. They are walking round with Ida, whose indeterminate-breed sheepdog Trixie sniffs Gail's treat pocket. Sheila comments on Gail being out without a jacket in November. We are invited to admire Sadie's new haircut, which is smart but I fear might give Gail 'ideas'.
A passing border terrier, a newcomer, rolls over on his back immediately I approach. His owner laughs, and says his dog needs to "man up".
We are lapped by the brown-skinned runner.
Further round, both Gail and I are attracted by the sight of a pretty, fine-boned and fluffy grey pup, about the same height as me. OK, I'll admit, I am more attracted by her smell. We learn she is a Bedlington/whippet mix. Oh she smells nice. I am accused of getting frisky and my lead is clamped on until she is a safe distance away.
As we reach the park gates, I spot my Goldendoodle pal and race over to say hello. His owner notes that the incident with Jake has not made me fearful at all. Gail tells her I was a bit more growly with other dogs for a week or two but now seem back to normal.
The runner passes us one more time. Gail resists the urge to stop him to ask how many times he circuits the park each morning and instead gazes back in appreciation as his handsome athletic form rapidly recedes.
Walking home along the street we meet paper delivery girl Arizono with her border collie. The collie sports a tasteful tartan neckerchief. Arizona wears a tiger-striped onesie. The cartoony outfit cannot hide a sad face. This girl from a troubled home was fostered by Corinne, a kind lady living four doors down from Gail. Corinne died of a brain tumour earlier this year. Gail says hello to Arizona who for once looks up and acknowledges the greeting and even smiles, briefly.
Hi, I'm Bertie, a wire-haired fox terrier pup. I live with Gail in Aberdeen, Scotland. An old Westie called Hamish used to live here but he died on 18th February 2010 (exactly the same day I was born). People tell me that he used to have a blog and that I have big pawprints to fill. That's a bit too much responsibility for a very young puppy - and anyway, I intend to make my own mark!
(Gail says that Hamish could certainly have taught me a thing or two about marking stuff....)