Helping to raise funds for, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
The Coast to Coast  walk as seen through the eyes of, Raika

Me, waiting to do the Coast to Coast
 Earlier this year things became just a little bit different to normal. My master was taking me on much  longer walks than  usual. People came to the house to take my picture, which later appeared in a local newspaper and I had a name tag put on my collar. This was to prove all in readiness for the adventure that was to follow                                                   

One morning, things weren’t quite like the normal routine. Things were being gathered together and put in the motorcar like when I’m being taken on holiday, but this time we didn’t pick up the caravan or go to pick up my friends, we went on a long journey to Yorkshire.

After an overnight stop at a big house, master transferred some things from the car onto a small bus and I joined him on another long journey. I didn’t like it at first, I missed the security of my cage and I kept slipping on the floor, but master soon made me comfortable between him and the side of the bus and I began to enjoy the ride. I enjoyed it even more when mountains came into view as I’ve learned that they meant lots of lovely walks, but I became confused when we carried on and didn’t stop.

Our journey ended when we reached the sea and got off the bus. Master put his pack on his back and gathered my lead. I knew then that we were at last going walking. The man patted me on the head and said goodbye and wished master well. I had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that we were a long way from home and we hadn’t even got the car with us, so I put my faith in my master and after going on to the beach we began walking along some cliffs. It seemed much like a normal walk at first, but some mountains soon came into view and it began to feel just like a normal holiday. There was even a stretch of forest walk, which reminded me of great times spent with Bridie and Lottie.

After what was a long walk and soon after what was to be one of many a wash in a stream, we arrived at a farm where at first I thought I could hear my two friends, but no, we were being met by some farm dogs. I was a bit wary at first as I was a stranger to them, but they all said hello nicely and made friends and I was allowed indoors and sat by master as he had a drink and chatted to the farmer and his wife. The subject soon got onto farming. I get bored with all that, so I laid down and my eyes began to close as I was beginning to feel tired after a long day

Only two of the dogs appeared to be allowed indoors, one of which sat by and guarded the lady like I do master sometimes. The other dogs were happy to stay out in the yard and were the ones that run with the sheep. I bet they have great fun, but master gets cross when I do it.

We stayed the night at the farm. I had a blanket to sleep on which master got out of the case, which had our things in, that had been sent ahead of us and arrived at the farm earlier. He muttered to himself as he discovered that he’d left my food-measuring mug behind, so one was borrowed from the lady. He later studied a map, so it looked as if we were going walking the next day also. I soon got to sleep after being taken out into the yard last thing.

Next morning the farm dogs woke me up early as they waited excitedly to go off chasing sheep, lucky things! Master left me as he went off to have his breakfast before returning to prepare for another walk. I wondered what we would be doing. I said goodbye to my new friends as we set off on our journey. We soon reached mountains, so he was happy, but that didn’t stop him from keeping me from chasing some sheep. I bet those other dogs were having a wonderful time. I pressed on with him, at least I was able to chase a rabbit and some squirrels. I loved the new smells and looking into all the new places. I got a bit dirty though and hoped I wouldn’t have to have another wash later. The day wore on and it was good fun by the lake and in another forest, but whoops! Yes, it was another wash. I hated having to stand in the river.

Soon we came to a stop at a house where a lady came to the door and had a long look at me, I expected it was to see whether I was dirty or not. It looked like we might be staying there for the night. Another fresh place! As we went up to our room I saw that the case had arrived again, so I knew I would be having my food and bed. I later learned that I wasn’t the only dog there. Black German Shepherds, I’ve seen the likes of them before too. He wasn’t happy there, no television or radio, so we both had a welcome early night.

The next day was rather uneventful so I played at being the faithful friend – you have to humour them sometimes – We had climbed up and over crags on what was a shorter walk, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t get dirty, so yes you’ve guessed it, another wash. I could see why when we arrived at, yet another place to stay, a posh hotel. Perhaps he’ll be happy with this one, I thought. There’s me, one of the worlds biggest creatures of habit, staying in a different place every night.

It was raining when we set of the next morning. As you will have guessed, I’m not the greatest lover of water, especially driving rain on my face, but there was worse to come with snow and heavy rain as we continued to walk. I wanted to shelter, but he kept moving on. I wonder why they do it. With water everywhere, I could no longer go round or over it so I had to go through it. I was constantly shaking water off my coat.

Next morning it was still raining and it looked like we are going again. As we left, master was given some biscuits for me as I had behaved well. Too tired to do much else, really. We went high up the mountains that day with hail lashing my face and stinging my eyes. I didn’t like that. Later I came across a sheep, sheltering from the wind, which ran from me. Master never said anything, so off I went after it. I can’t hear him once I start and I wasn’t gone long, but boy was he cross when I got back. I had to keep close by his side and never had my biscuits until we reached our next overnight stop.

We set off again, moving to a fresh place every day, but it was good fun with all the new sights, sounds and smells to investigate and keeping a lookout while he had his lunch. I even showed him which path to take sometimes. We met some people and he stopped to talk. They didn’t have a dog with them so I had to stand about and wait. It was nice not to have to walk in the rain and I think master liked it better too. I had a wash as we were getting near to another overnight stop. That time it was a huge room so I had plenty of room to stretch my legs.

The routine is the same next morning and we set off again. I kept my eye out for sheep, but this time we came across some cattle. I’m not sure about them, so I gave them a wide berth in case I got chased like once before. I wondered what Bridie and Lottie were doing, I bet they were having to be shut up in their runs while auntie Susan was at work.

We had a man walking with us the next day who liked to see me jump over the fences and stiles and I got wet again. Funny, when it rains when I’m at home I don’t have to go out. There was a farm dog where we stayed that night but it wasn’t allowed to say hello. I sometimes think that not all farmers like me.

There were some old buildings to explore on our next walk where I came across a man who wasn’t quite sure about me. I can’t understand people sometimes. The hills weren’t quite so big and there were fewer sheep, but more cattle. As we continued our walk I chased some more rabbits and put some birds up.

Soon after our departure the next day, by some woodland close to a river, there were rabbits and squirrels all over the place. I didn’t know which way to turn. I do like this job, I thought. I got used to the routine and it went on for several more days, over hill and dale, by rivers and waterfalls.

Guess what, I didn’t have to have a wash today and I even got to go a pub with master and laid under the table while he had a meal. The lady where we stayed that night said that I was well behaved and that she hardly knew I was there. I wonder what she would have said if I had been able to chase her cat.

We came across some strange fences I hadn’t seen before a couple of times. They were no more than a narrow gap in a wall. My master had to help me through one as it was to high for me to get over, but I couldn’t manage the other one so I was taken to the edge of the field to get through.

It all proved to be much fun, running through woodland, up and down hills, running to look over the next hill, jumping fences and seeing to things in general. I even had to walk through a river on one occasion. You either come or you get left behind, I was told, so I just followed him. It wasn’t too bad. My friends would have loved it.

Suddenly, out of the fog, we arrived by the sea again where we went onto the beach – Had we been coast to coast, I asked myself – but we didn’t stay, like when I am at home. I had to wait while he did some shopping, then the man with the little bus arrived and I got to go for my first ride for sometime. Much to my surprise, we later reached my motorcar.

It had been a lovely venture. I shall know what to expect if we do something like that again. I could hardly wait to tell my friends about it. I had got used to sleeping in different places, but it was nice to get back to my old routine, back to my proper bed and keeping an eye out for the postman and next doors cat.                                        
I've been Coast to Coast
I don't know, there's always something to do.                                                                                             
               Dictated by Raika and written by Brian Garrod  
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