Archie, a lively black labrador who loves his walks.

Anne has always liked dogs, but  had never had the time or space in her life to have one of her own. She was either working or busy rearing young children. She’d seen friends getting dogs in situations that weren’t right, and it never worked out well. The dogs ended up frustrated because they weren’t getting enough attention, and the humans ended up wishing that they’d never taken on the animals.

Yet Anne loved going for walks with other people’s pets, and she enjoyed getting to know her friend’s animals.

It was just by chance that she came across Archie. He’s a big, friendly animal who loves his daily walk, and he belonged to a lady called Angela, a friend of one of Anne’s friends. Angela fell ill last summer, and had to go into hospital.  She had managed to find someone to look after Archie in her absence, but this temporary home was unable to take him out for his usual exercise. The word had gone out in Angela’s social circle: did anyone know someone who’d take Archie for a walk every day?

When Anne was asked if she’d be interested, she hesitated: Archie was a big bouncy dog with a larger than life personality. Would she be able to cope with his energy and enthusiasm? Would she be able to keep him under control? And if she let him off the leash in a safe spot, would he come back when she called him?

She decided to take him on a trial walk, with no commitment. To her delight, she discovered that walking Archie was easy and enjoyable. He happily walked beside her when on the leash, and when she was in a safe open area, she was able to let him off the leash without him doing anything silly. He sniffed around, charged madly up and down for a while, then came back to her side when she called him. And at the end of the walk, Archie seemed grateful to Anne: he hopped into the back of her car, wagging his tail and looking at her with a gleam in his eye.

Anne was hooked from day one, and a new routine was established. She’d pick up Archie, take him for an hour long walk, and deliver him home afterwards. Everyone was happy: Anne loved the chance to enjoy the open air with an enthusiastic animal, Archie was thrilled to have his exercise with a new friendly human in his life, and Angela was relieved that her dog was able to have a fulfilling daily routine while she was unable to offer it to him herself.

The months passed by, and sadly, Angela’s illness progressed. Archie was her faithful companion throughout, sitting by her bed, gazing at her with his gentle brown eyes. He loved his walks with Anne, but Angela was the centre of his life.

Sadly, and unexpectedly, Angela passed away in May. What was going to happen now? Anne continued to take Archie for his regular walks, but something had to change. Anne couldn’t keep him as a full time pet, and Angela’s family couldn’t manage him either. He needed the right home, and that isn’t always easy to find.

Another shout-out in Angela’s social circle came up with the answer: the ideal place was found for Archie, deep in the Wexford countryside, living with a cross-bred Collie and a doting owner. Archie left for his new home last weekend, and there’s only one problem: Anne misses him hugely.

She will have her own dog one day, but in the mean time, she has her ear to the ground. Archie will be a hard act to follow, but if someone else has a dog needing a daily stroll, Anne might be happy to help.

Tips

  • Dogs need a daily walk, for physical and mental well being
  • Some people aren’t able to walk their own dog
  • Shared dog ownership often works well

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