During the unusually hot summer, Ollie started to enjoy his walks less and less. He began to curtail them of his own volition, by heading to the exit from Beetley Meadows, and refusing to budge until I put on his lead, and headed home. Since the abrupt change in the weather, he continues to act as if it is still unpleasantly hot, and tries to get me to take him home after less than forty minutes. But we both need our exercise, so I have refused to go, and made him follow me.
Our usual diversion over to Hoe Rough has had to be cancelled for a while, due to the presence of cows with small calves. I don’t fancy fending off any angry mother cows, and looking out for Ollie at the same time. So, I try to mix things up a little, to convince Ollie we are not doing the same circular walk. Yesterday, I took him into the wooded area, for the first time in a few days. He sometimes spots squirrels in there, and chasing them up trees enriches his outdoor experience.
A few paces in from the kissing-gate, I was startled by a stocky Muntjac deer emerging from some bracken, and charging across the path ahead, close enough for me to touch it. Ollie spotted the white rear-end of the animal, and took off in hot pursuit, yelping excitedly. I am always concerned when he chases a Muntjac, as they have short horns and tusks, and can be fierce if cornered. But I assume he is unlikely to ever catch one, and I am pleased to see him following his canine instincts. And the rather chubby deer could have done with losing some weight by being chased, I reasoned.
I spent more than ten minutes trying to find where they had gone. The woodland area there is relatively small, and fenced all round. No doubt the deer had gained entry under one of the fence rails, as that small species of deer are not adept at jumping. Struggling through brambles, Holly bushes, and waist-high bracken, I eventually found my frothy faced dog staring into a dense thicket of seemingly impenetrable brambles. Inside, I could just make out the legs of the deer, and when I stood quietly, I heard it breathing hard.
I called Ollie away, and he left reluctantly, with a whine. But the distressed deer had to be left in peace, and Ollie had been given some much-needed exercise during the short chase. With any luck, that same deer will return on a regular basis, and give my dog renewed interested in his walks.