Bertie is a confident puppy and very anxious to prove to the big dogs that he is just as capable as them. Thus he gallops after them and follows the progress of the Kong. He hasn’t yet acquired the speed to keep up with them and attempt to retrieve it.
That’s acceptable, though, as Frodo the Faller never retrieves so Bertie always has the company of a big dog no matter what is going on.
He is nearly as tall as Jenna – not difficult as she is a fairly short Labrador but with a terrific turn of speed. He is keen to join his friends and relations in the back of the dog car and can easily jump into the boot but sits in the passenger well at my feet for the time being. He climbs up and downstairs, though not as frequently as he wishes because he is still growing and jarring the joints can damage them. He barks at people who approach too close without being invited. He is doing his duty as a guardian of his humans. All in all, he is quite a grown-up pup and very little fazes him.
However, one day last week we had just commenced our walk in the forest when a bike appeared on the horizon, coming down the hill. We called the dogs to us, as usual, but for some reason didn’t manage to catch hold of Bertie. The cyclist slowed and steered past carefully. He was now behind Bertie who took fright at the strange apparition – a crouching figure with a huge head and bug eyes on a wheeled frame, a veritable ogre. Have you noticed the sound that bicycle wheels make? It’s a sort of ticking and there’s nothing quite like it.
Bertie fled, tail between his legs, ears pinned back, the fiend following and gaining slightly. No amount of calling was going to persuade him to turn round and face the monster or brave a path that took him near it. The cyclist obligingly halted and Barry was able to reach Bertie and reassure him while the cyclist slowly rode past.
Suddenly our brave puppy was once more just a little chap out in the wide, worrying world. He stayed close for a while then gradually regained his confidence and became again the courageous canine we usually see.