My baby girls, Ellie, labrador/pointer cross, and Freya, border collie, are four years old today. They are my pride and joy. Grenades of fun, they explode into every space they occupy… living in the moment and filling the dark areas of my soul with light and love.

They make me get up ridiculously early, usually 4 a.m. in the summer, they jump all over me until I respond grudgingly, and do what they want.

We got them both on the same day, Freya first, she was from Sheffield about a 90 miles round trip from where we live, and then Ellie, who lived about 3 miles away, an hour later. Since that day, I have spent only one night away from them. They are very obedient when out walking, they both respond immediately to my whistle, they don’t go chasing after other dogs, they don’t pester other people walking by. This was not always the case… Training them, was possibly the hardest job I have ever undertaken. Having two dogs at the same time, seemed like a good idea… Probably not, in retrospect.

As I am quite old and a bit frail, I have a really bad back condition, Spondylitis and stenosis of the spine.

Spondylitis is an inflammation of the vertebra. It is a form of spondylopathy. In many cases spondylitis involves one or more vertebral joints as well, which itself is called spondylarthritis.

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck.

When I was diagnosed, I thought, “Well that’s me in a wheel-chair then”.

But, because my girls force me to keep getting up and take them out for a walk, I’m actually more mobile than I was, so they have helped to keep me moving.

So I say happy birthday girls, you are bloody annoying in your insistent pestering of me…

But I would not be without you for the world!


Dale ‘M’


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