A small procession of hi-visibility jacketed men trudged through the plywood entrance gate to a building site. Despite the threat of redundancies, work still carries on albeit with less enthusiasm and a lot more mutterings and grumbles from staff. Walking into the meeting room I spotted Karl, a likable fellow who shares my enjoyment of dogs. I decided to grab the seat next to him and enjoy a quick chat before we began with the formalities of the meeting.
Karl is the proud owner of a 2 year old Newfoundland dog. For those who are unfamiliar with the breed they are water dogs and can grow to quite some size (around 170lbs). His training and day to day life is usually interesting to say the least. Within a few minutes he had informed me they were not having a christmas tree this year due to the fact the dog had stolen last years. After hearing rustlings in the depths of the night he crept downstairs to find his faithful dog dragging the tree by the stump from the living room into the adjoining room. He also informed my his good lady had agreed to buy another Newfoundland puppy without first confirming the price with the breeder. I nearly fell off the chair when I was told the cost was £1200!
A couple of hours later we found ourselves leaving the site and walking the steep hills of a peak district town back to a clients office. Once again we returned to our canine conversations, the result of which left me leaning on a wall trying to catch breath between guilty laughter bouts. The previous night Karl had taken his Newfoundland for their usual evening walk. The winter rains had left the ground sodden with several large muddy puddles, naturally the dog enjoyed these immensely and steered Karl towards them at every occasion. Realising he could end up spending quite some time cleaning his dog before settling into a comfy chair for the night Karl made the decision to walk along the much drier tow path to the Chesterfield canal. All went well for a short stretch until something caught the dogs attention. In a sudden burst of energy the dog leapt from the tow path and into the canal, sadly for Karl he was clutching the other end of the lead and was caught off guard. It is apparently a strange sensation to find yourself flying towards the black waters of the canal. He was unsure of turning his flight into an elegant dive or curling up to cannonball. Regardless of the method of entry he found himself swimming, much to the delight of the dog who was clearly well pleased to be sharing the environment with his master.
After scrambling out of the canal he was faced with a cold and wet half mile walk home before being greeted by the horrified exclamations of his partner as he slopped in through the door.
Karl should you pass this way please accept my thanks for the tale, I can only imagine what you will happen while walking a second young Newfoundland. I hope any one else who has called by has enjoyed it too.