We are becoming adept at harnessing Dominie to her Doggon' Wheels (she doesn't use them indoors) and when she is detached from Barry, who helps her up inclines, she enjoys the freedom of stopping where she chooses or of joining the rest of the pack at a particularly enticing sniff. She picks up speed going downhill and positively skips along.
In the last couple of days we have gone to a different wood to walk and the going has been softer and easier for her. Decades of fallen leaves have mulched into a sweet-smelling carpet and there are many routes to be taken through the trees. It's always a pleasure to walk with the dogs and even more so when the location is fresh to them. The smells are new and the terrain unfamiliar. When we let the dogs out of the car on the first day they were like small children set free in a toy shop, not knowing which way to turn or what to try first. The woods were full of birdsong last evening towards sunset and we suddenly realised that neither of us has heard a cuckoo this year. We know that cuckoo numbers are declining; apparently the population has decreased by 37% in the last fifteen years. What a shame it would be if the cuckoo no longer visited these shores. Those two pure notes of the cuckoo's song lift the spirit and declare that Summer is truly on the way.