'I stand on one side of the burn, two cows stand behind me ruminating over the fence. On the other side of the burn the vast expanse of Ashaig beach disappears off into the distance. The rain pelts by sideways, relentless and unforgiving. The warmth and comfort of the car is only a few steps away behind the curious cows.
I shout “Will you please come back!”
On the horizon where the beach meets the sea two dogs can be seen running joyously up and down the water’s edge.
“……” I mutter. The cows agree.
“Come here! I can see you. Stop ignoring me!”
Shadow and Boo are easily spotted as they are both wearing bright red Equafleece dog jumpers. I can see them dashing to and fro, desperate to get at the seagull bobbing in the water about 200 metres offshore.
The rain intensifies, determined to find a way through my waterproofs. My frustration builds
“I’m getting all wet and cold!” I bellow. “You ungrateful so n sos! We could have adopted cats!” If they could have heard me the dogs would have laughed at that as the pathetic lie it was.
There is 500m of storm lashed beach between us. They can’t hear me and if they could they wouldn’t have listened anyway. A flight of geese have flown over and the dogs have set off in fruitless but impassioned pursuit.
It was a year ago that the older and larger of the two dogs had arrived from Cyprus. He had left an island that was bathed in sun and basked in 20c heat to be delivered to an island that shivered in -6c frost under a watery sun that skipped briefly along the horizon.
“Is this the gratitude I get? I give you a home, a selection of couches, chairs and beds to sleep on. Three meals a day, central heating, chewy breath treats, a croft, endless walks… deer poo..!
I pause for breath and turn round to see if anyone is listening to my rant. Only the cows. They nod their agreement and encouragement.
“I even got you a friend, that other ungrateful puppy, the little one behind you trying to keep up.”
The two dogs have suddenly stopped, having come across some decomposing and crunchy sea life left behind by the tide. It is eaten with relish. I make a mental note to buy more chewy breath treats. The wind picks up, a gust blows across the beach pushing a wall of sand ahead of it. The smaller dog is enveloped by it. One side of him is black, white and hairy, the other a beige mat of sand. It seems this has ended the fun for him. He heads for home, his leggy brother grudgingly follows.
“At last,” I say as if it was my shouting that brought them back. They run for the car carefully avoiding the cows who glare at them. As the boot is opened they jump onto the custom dog mat boot liner with extra blankets and I remove their jumpers then give them treats for being such good dogs and coming back after only ten minutes of pointless shouting.
If I had been born in a pound/found abandoned as a few weeks old pup would I have left the wide and wild open space with all the boundless chasing, digging, eating and headlong charging into the distance opportunities on offer?
No, not a hope.
Shadow arrived tiny and shivering a year ago this week. From Cyprus to Skye. When we lost our spaniel Toby in June of this year Shadow missed him desperately and by the end of summer we were joined by the tiny Boo also from Cyprus. Puppies have their ups and downs. Mostly up on the sofa and down in the mud. The housetraining can be a little soul destroying (actually it only took a month with Shadow and Boo arrived pretty much pre trained – but it seemed a long time!) and most puppies go through a frustrating nibbling and chewing stage. But the joy more than overwhelms those times. To see these two rejected souls who were almost without hope of any life to have this wonderful life on the Isle of Skye brings an immeasurable pleasure.'
- Rosie Woodhouse