Out walking with Ollie yesterday, I was not surprised to see that the river had flooded its banks, after the heavy rain earlier. I set off over to Hoe Rough, but it was hard going, diverting around the deeper flooded parts once again. As is my habit, I eventually settled down for a rest on my favourite log, tired of splashing around in the mud, after over an hour of walking. Ollie stood nearby, having some drinks from the different pools of rainwater that had formed around the trees.
After ten minutes or so, I heard some excited yapping and barking. It seemed to be coming our way, and sounded like a fair number of dogs were responsible. Ollie’s ears pricked up, (or in his case, moved forward) and he stood looking in the direction of the sound. I was startled to see a large stag appear, a fully-grown animal with a full set of antlers. It was running at a good pace, and glanced in my direction as it passed, seemingly unconcerned. Ollie looked around at me, as if to say “Can I?” The yapping grew in intensity, and two Springer Spaniels crashed through the shrubs, in hot pursuit of the deer.
From the noise they were making, you would have thought that there were at least ten of them. Ollie saw them running, and needed no further permission to join in the chase, quickly overtaking the tired spaniels. I stood up to see where he was heading, knowing I had no chance of catching up. I began to follow, and soon passed the two Springers, who had given up, and were returning to their shouting owner. Ollie continued into the corner of Hoe Rough, and disappeared from view. Despite his stocky frame, he can move very fast, when he wants to.
I found him about ten minutes later. He was pacing back and forth along a fence line, sniffing intently. I assumed that the deer had easily jumped the fence into adjoining private property, leaving the hapless Ollie with no option but to try to trail him by scent. We didn’t see any more of the noble stag that afternoon, but he provided a moment of excitement, and some good exercise, for my dog.