Paw Pals' Brian featured in Crufts Magazine!

Monday 8 September 2014

Paw Pals in Crufts Magazine

Brian Ainge and his (client’s) dog Chaz. Surrey Hills, Bletchingley, Surrey.

“Come on Chaz”. Emerging from the long grass is a chubby, eight-year-old Border Terrier. All tongue, teeth and that cheeky grin, bounding up the hill to my heels as we take in the Surrey Hills.

Not so long ago, bounding up the hill was rather out of reach for Chaz. Just over 12 months ago, his 'Dad' passed away and Chaz took it hard. Our first walks together were slow and halting, Chaz stopping every ten yards for a rest.

The downland around Chaz’s home comprises some of the Surrey Hills’ loveliest features – rolling grassland peppered with wild flowers, woods in the vales and skies tumbling with skylarks and swifts. From the grassland that Chaz and I circumnavigate the feature on the horizon is the North Downs, in-between the M25, whose constant rumble is the backdrop for birds singing and bees buzzing.

Five months on, and Chaz is a regular customer with my franchise business, Paw Pals East Surrey. Now our daily 45 minute walks are brisk and forward looking, in more ways than one.

In March I received a fairly typical enquiry from Chaz’s owner, Sally. “Brian, could you help me with my dog. He needs more walking than I can provide and he pulls me about a bit."

So our first meeting is on Chaz’s home turf and after a bit of basic dog whispering a rather nervous greying ball of wiry fur is sniffing at my legs. Sally is concerned that I can handle him so we take a turn around the garden.

I am quite used to a pulling dog and as luck would have it, my centre of gravity is little higher than Chaz’s, so his explosive darting from one point of interest to the next is no real problem. And so it is that Chaz joins my line up of canine customers.

Part of the joy of what I do is derived from having a happy owner and becoming involved in the human, as well as canine, side of their lives. So it is with Sally and on the first anniversary of her late husband’s passing, new life comes into the family – a baby girl and Sally’s fifth grandchild.

By now we’ve also started to take a look at Chaz’s weight and mood swings. One of these is clearly a question of diet and I wonder if the other is too. So Chaz is now fed twice-daily with a measured amount of some of the good stuff, from his vet.

Perhaps it is because I (and other ‘Paw Pals’ across the nation) walk just one dog at a time that the relationship is a close one. I believe this helps where dogs have issues, whether medical or emotional. In each case I try to make our time together as happy and positive as possible.

Maybe dogs do know when humans mean well? I consider it a happy duty to try.

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