They say that owners and dogs become more and more alike with the passing years, and there may well be truth in that because my own started out as a confident enough puppy and has become, during the last nine years back in England, almost neurotic.
Frustrating at first, especially as I like to have adventures and I enjoy the company of my dog as I am out exploring, until it occurred to me to watch my dog's moods and see if they matched my own. And of course they did. It was an eye-opening experience.
When I was relaxed and happy Tashi was playful, he would bring me his toy to throw and we'd indulge in gentle games of tug of war over it, or he'd fight an imaginary bear on the rug, rolling and growling and looking to see if I was amused by his antics.
When I was sad he would sit at my feet and sigh deeply.
And when I was stressed and anxious and fearful my poor pup was a nervous wreck.
I daresay, on reflection, I shouldn't be surprised by his mirroring my moods. He is a dog. He depends on me. He has no way of knowing what is happening around him and takes his cues from me. Ergo, I am afraid, Tashi is afraid. And there had been much to be afraid of during those nine years.
But now we're back in Brittany.
We're in our own home where we please ourselves, where we are safe, where we can close the shutters and keep the world and its ogres at bay. When we need to.
And when we want playmates there are plenty and most of them are pretty crazy people.
And when we feel like an adventure, well, we are in Brittany.
It's time to teach my dog to relax and stop worrying.
Physician heal thyself...
So while we are both a work in progress I am adapting the adventures to be more Timid Tashi friendly. For instance, I love the beach. I especially love the beach between Trégastel and Plouman'ach, la plage de Tourony, because it is from there that I can, at low tide, walk to the pink castle and at high tide it's safe and pleasant for swimming. And, more to the point, dogs are permitted.
So far, so good.
Except that Tashi is afraid of the sea. And he is terrified when I swim in it. To his canine consciousness I am probably being devoured by this large, mass of water that persists in licking at his paws before retreating to gain strength for another attack.
The last time we were there I took him on several gentle walks into the sea while reassuring him that all was well and we wouldn't lose our toes to the Salt Monster. Eventually he relaxed a little. But not enough for me to risk a swim, and that was frustrating.
So, I have a Grand Plan.
We go to the beach at low tide, we walk all the way to the castle and there, among the rocks, we find this spot where a few paces into the water there is a drop of some six feet, thereby providing a natural swimming pool for me and a safe (and more importantly very close) place for Tashi on which to stand guard. And if he feels the need to bark a little at first, well, we'll be far enough out not to be a
nuisance to other people.
Of course, this means checking not only the weather but also the tides.
And Saturday looks like it could be ideal. Low tide at midday and sunshine is forecast.
So, watch this space....