Ollie the dog is two years old today. The time seems to have gone so quickly, and it only seems like a few months since he was a ball of wrinkles, rolling around on his blanket. It has not been an easy two years for the pup. He has endured three major eye operations, countless visits to the Vet, and the recent amputation of the end of his tail. None of this has changed his loveable nature, or dampened his enthusiasm for playing with his toys, or pounding around the meadow with his doggy pals.
He has been with me every day, since I moved here full-time. He is my constant companion, and devoted follower. Whatever low mood you might find yourself in, he can lift it, with a wag of his curly tail, or excited scampering, rushing to show you his favourite toy. He has become part of our family, firmly established, and it is impossible to think of our life here in Norfolk, without him in it. He rarely does anything wrong, and even when he does, it is something of little significance; like not returning when called, or chewing the nose off his latest toy. His possessions litter the living room floor after a hard day’s play, and his slobbering has to be caught quickly, or it will go everywhere. He can smell awful when he has got wet, and when he has a drink, he slops water all over the kitchen tiles. But he is harmless, as it is all unintentional, and just part of him being the dog he is.
He has given me a reason to exercise, introduced me to people who have become good friends, and enabled me to see the world from the viewpoint of a dog, in uncomplicated terms. Go out, eat, play, and sleep, four simple things that he lives by. If he is left for a while, he just sleeps. He doesn’t bark, whine, or chew furniture. When you have had enough of playing, he senses that too, and trots off to lie across the room, awaiting your next burst of energy. He has an internal clock better than any Rolex, and knows exactly what time to expect Julie to return from work; and if she is running late, he senses that too, ears raised at any car noises. He knows what time he should go out in the afternoon, and never troubles you before then. He loves to go out in the car, but can be disappointed when the short journey ends in the Vet’s car park. His main joy is the daily walk to the local meadow, and across to Hoe Rough. He never tires of the same ‘beat’; even though I might find it dull and repetitive, he adores the familiarity of his regular stomping ground.
He loves to welcome guests and visitors to the house, seeing everyone, from the postman, to our next door neighbours, as his best friends. His gang of doggy mates are checked off as they arrive, and if any are absent, he monitors the entrances to the fields, wondering where they have gone. His world is small, and his expectations are small also. I sometimes think that we could all learn something from the happiness he derives, from simple lack of expectation.
He will have extra treats today, as well as new toys; a fluffy lion, and a stuffed tiger that he got this morning. He doesn’t understand that it is his birthday, but he will appreciate the extra fuss. He is our little friend, and still only two years old. We might assume that this is fourteen, in human years. We would be wrong. Like any two year old, he is full of the joys of his youth, has boundless energy, and an inquisitive nature. He is just a dog, but he is a great dog.
Happy Birthday Ollie.