Autumnal Walks

Autumn is, without doubt, my favourite time of year. I love the changing colours of the leaves, the colder days, the way it suddenly becomes socially acceptable to live in a hoodie. This year, with the arrival of my dog, I have explored more and taken the time to appreciate the differences and changes of each passing day, the further Autumn progresses into Winter. Whilst I was always aware of the beauty in my local surroundings, the extensive walking and exploration that has taken place as a result of the dog walking has made my awareness so much more present.


Treacle being a daredevil and jumping up on to a wall overlooking the ‘Dark Arch’ exit

One of our favourite walks is a 6-mile plus round-trip that takes in the Aberford Fly Line, a long-since disused railway line that was used by the Gascoigne family to transport coal between their colliery in Garforth and a depot in Aberford. The entire line is now a public footpath and provides my dog and I with a long, yet relatively easy, walk, surrounded by the beauty of the Parlington Estate, which the majority of the Fly Line traverses. IMG_0568.JPG
Once you exit the Fly Line and arrive in Aberford, you can either get a bus back, or follow the road round and back to Garforth. As Treacle is usually muddy and I find the walk along the road just as beautiful as the walk through the woods, we always walk back. The path is narrow, and as you near Garforth, it crosses the A1/M1 motorway, although it is a relatively easy crossing.
IMG_0583-0.JPGThe full walk is a significant time commitment, often taking us three hours, but the scenery and the relaxation it provides is well worth it, especially on a weekend when the weather is nice, which can be particularly difficult to find at this time of year.


Dog Life

IMG_0282.JPGJust over six months ago, this beautiful creature became a permanent fixture in my daily life. She had been living with my brother, his fiancée and my two nephews, but the burden of giving a dog the attention it needs was just too much with two children aged two and under and they had no choice but to give her up. I couldn’t see her going in to a shelter, and as she lays here next to me, head on my pillow and snoring, I know I made the right choice.

That isn’t to say that I don’t think shelters do a good job – I think they do a fantastic job and more should be done to support them, where possible – but I recall seeing an older dog on the website of one of my local shelters, and he was on there well over a year before finally being adopted earlier this year. I didn’t want that to be Treacle’s fate. She loves people and wouldn’t have coped well in a shelter.
IMG_0021.JPGTreacle was abandoned approximately three and a half years ago, found by my brother, and housed with him until her owner came forward. They never did. The anger I feel towards this person I have never met cannot be put into words. I will never understand people who can treat animals so cruelly. I also feel sympathy for them, as they will never know the quirky, sensitive, protective, outstanding character that is my dog. They will never understand the small joy of waking up with her curled between their legs, or climbing under their covers for ‘snuggles’ when it’s a bit colder. The joy she brings as I walk through the door and experience her greeting is unparalleled. The way she insists on sticking her head out of the window of the car to feel the breeze, or carries her Pedigree® DentaFlex® wherever she goes (although I don’t usually let her take it on walks with us), or has made herself at home on the back of the chairs in the living room so she can watch the world go by and wait for my return are some of her characteristics I love and cherish in her.
IMG_0262.JPGShe loves being outdoors and I only wish I could spend more time outside with her. She loves to chase a ball or frisbee, although she’s not too keen on actually fetching it – more chase to chew and destroy! She loves exploring a new place and would run around all day if I let her. She demands my time and I feel rejuvenated following a long walk with her. I have experienced new places and made new friends and yet I also cherish the solitude of our individual walks. I didn’t previously want the commitment of a dog, but now I really don’t know what I’d do without her. She is my family and my whole world, and I think I would be lost without her.