You’re not wondering, are you? Come on, who do you think?
Once he had learned the boundaries, he generally stuck to them and rarely ventured near the road. Of course, like all dogs, he loved to be taken for a walk and if he saw one of us going out on foot he ran along, hoping to be taken too. And if it was convenient, I’d pick up his lead in the porch and, when he appeared, take him with me. However, if it wasn’t then he was expected to go back home. He found this quite hard to accept. But he did learn to stay to my command and, although sometimes he’d give up and go back to the house, quite often I’d return to find him lying at the fork in the drive, waiting for me.
My mother walked to the village shop every day with her dog, and of course Chester wanted to go too. But he was crafty. If he appeared when she was still in the drive, she would bring him back (my mother lived in the granny annexe next door to us) and shut him in our house. So he waited until she had gone with Bruce, her black labrador cross, round the corner and he judged that she wouldn’t want to turn back, and then appear at her side. She often used to complain about this, but it was only if she came and told me that she was going out that I could call Chester in to the house. And he didn’t get away with it with me, anyway.
Even so, once in a while he had a go. He’d suddenly appear, bouncing up to me with tail wagging, joy in his face. But I’m hard, darlings, damn hard. I’d take him back to the garden gate (the drive is some 100 yards long) and tell him to go home. His ears would drop, his tail droop and he’d trail along, looking back every few yards, and I’d just point. When he got to the fork, I’d tell him to stay and start walking again. Then I’d nip back to see if he was still there (I made sure he didn’t see me) and, if he was sneaking down the drive again I’d reappear to point sternly.
The thing was, if I’d once relented then my job would have become way harder, so I never did. If I was going to take him, I’d say at once, otherwise I’d not give in. And so, though he did keep testing me for some years, he did accept that I was the leader of the pack.
Tomorrow, Chester and the sheep.