Somerset is beginning to feel like a second home to me for here I am again looking after my friend’s  furry and feathery menagerie in the tiny hamlet of Selworthy on Exmoor.

Having had a very convivial New Year with my friends it is now time for me to take up my pet sitting duties.  My friend’s hound, Mole,  a strapping Italian Spinone of nine months is a very sweet-natured animal but oh so wilful! I had plenty of opportunities to accompany my friend and Mole on their walks and witness  how he behaved on and off the lead.  I took him out on my own and our first walk together was a great success.  I had him on the lead until we were safely in the woods before I let him off.  His recall was excellent and when he came back to me I got him to sit before I gave him his treat.  So it was a bit of a shock when I took him for yomp the afternoon before my friends left for their holiday and he did a runner two minutes from home and just as I was about to put the lead on him!!  You see, I have since discovered that Mole is a dog in love!  He picked up the scent of a neighbour’s bitch who was almost three miles away in Bossington and in a blink of an eye he was off!  The first thing I knew about his cross-country exploits was when my mobile rang and a rather angry voice on the other end said Mole had  come hurtling out of the bracken towards his bitch at which point I was still walking up and down the woodland tracks shouting myself horse and blowing the dog whistle like an overenthusiastic Keystone Cop!! Having had his bits removed at rather a late age,  Mole is a very frustrated hound and his owner’s are hoping that his hormones will eventually settle down!  So it was we all piled into my friend’s car and headed towards Hurlestone Point were next-door neighbour,  his dogs plus Mole met us.  The errant hound was in his element rough-housing with his lady-love!

Today we completed a successful walk on the lead, almost to Minehead as it turned out. I say a walk, it was more like being towed!  I’ve decided to fill my coat pockets with tins of baked bins so that I can anchor the hound better!  Mole, does respond to voice commands but once he has the scent of a bitch on heat in is nostrils he’s off and with it so wet underfoot at the moment I feel like a water-skier being propelled along the muddy paths!

Still,  I’ve not got lost or wounded so far.  Wish me luck!