100 Canines and their Humans – project #2

Today is 13th February 2019.

After a few weeks of much procrastination and  deliberation, today I took the plunge to start another 100 project.

Having completed my previous project, ‘100 Strangers and their Dogs’, I found myself really missing it – and it far exceeded my expectations and wildest dreams by snowballing itself into a book!  From the 100 copies I had printed (hardback), I now only have one copy left!

So back to the here and now.

I’m really enjoying this photography malarky; I am loving every aspect of learning.  I must add I am just ‘blundering through’, but it’s just great fun and so rewarding.

So it was Wednesday; the day I run errands for my old Dad.  I finished up a little earlier than usual and because it was such good weather, I decided to drop my car at home and walk up to the school to pick up my daughter.  It takes about an hour on foot, allowing time of course to feed the birdlife on the canal. I grabbed a bag full of seed and as I was about to leave home I could hear the Fuji XT20 shouting, “Take me! Take me!”.  The 56mm lens also wanted to come along … ah well, the more the merrier … so off we went.

As I walked along the Sutton Road towards the canal, I spotted a beautiful wire-haired canine and his human.  The old ‘butterflies in the belly’ were flapping and fluttering their familiar rhythms, but today I would ignore them – “Hello, I wonder if I could possibly take your photograph for a project that I’m doing?”.  George the Lurcher was tight muzzled, but his human, Norman, said that would be fine.  George was a rescued by Norman years ago. He was 13 years old but still ran around like a young pup.  

I often say that the universe tips its cap to you when you’re on the right path – the first dog of the original 100 Strangers project was called George, and today my first was also a George – this could be coincidence, but it certainly gave me reassurance that this was the right thing at the right time.

#1 George the Lurcher and Norman the Man

 

#1 Norman and George

 

I continued on my journey and joined the canal, bird seed in hand, as many a hungry feathered friend  was waiting to  greet me as I descended the steps to the tow path.  Lunch was served – moorhens, coots and ducks were fine dining today. 

As I walked along the path, I spied a happy little fellow with a very keen interest in the bird life!  Enter Flynn, the lovely little Cocker Spaniel.  The super cute Flynn was six years old and was accompanied by his human, Liz, a lovely lady.  We had a chat, hugged, and parted ways. 

#2 Flynn the Cocker Spaniel,  and Liz

#2 Liz and Flynn

#2 Flynn bandw edit1

 

It’s such a gorgeous stretch of canal, so easy to lose yourself in its beauty.  I checked my watch, quickened my pace and made it to school just in time!

On the way home I had the pleasure of meeting the adorable Gloria, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her humans, Liz and Jen.  Gloria will be six years old in April; she had big brown eyes and was quite the lady. 

 

#3 Gloria the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Liz and Jen

#3 Gloria Liz and Jen

#3 Gloria the Staffy

Thursday 21st February 2019 (It was so warm today could’ve been summer)

Cycling to work along the canal near Longwood Boat Club, I looked up. Our eyes met … *swoon* … enter Frankie, the Blue French Bulldog and his human Melanie.  Frankie was born on 21st June 2018, and, at just eight months old was a handsome devil and quite the character.

Frankie and Mel had just been to the pub for refreshments to break up their two hour walk – water and wine were consumed.  Melanie said Frankie was happy to go for a long walk but would be just as happy to stay relaxing at home.

#4 Frankie the French Bulldog and Melanie, his human

Frankie and mel bandw

 

 

 

A little further along on my journey, a gorgeous glossy coated Welsh Collie with different coloured eyes crossed my path.  He was hauntingly beautiful, three years old and called Brodie.

Hetrochromia Iridis is the Greek term for a difference in coloration of the eyes.  Some people believe that heterochromatic dogs can see both heaven and earth at the same time.

Brodie was accompanied by his human Geraint.  I’d never met a ‘Geraint’ before.  He told me it was a Welsh name.

#5 Brodie, the Welsh Collie, and Geraint

Brodie and Geraint

Brodie

Brodie side

Wednesday 27th February.

Another amazing day for the weather, bright blue skies and warm, no coat required!  So unusual for February, four seasons in one month.

As it was  Wednesday, ‘my day off’, or as it had now become, ’runningaroundformyolddadday’,  I took my camera, still with the 56mm 1.2 lens on, just on the off chance that I might meet a canine who would be willing to let me take a photo of them and their human.

The day started with a dog walk for my boys, then the school drop off for my girl.

I arrived at my dad’s house and took his dog Sprocket for a walk in the local park.  I bumped into Jason and Rosie who were in my first project.  I gave Rosie a snuggle and chatted to Jason and his wife.

The park was surprisingly quiet, not a snap to be snapped.  

Fast forward to the afternoon where I had to nip into Aldridge before the school pick up to visit the bank.

As I arrived, I spotted a lovely little ball of fluff with her human.  Hopefully our paths would cross on my return.  Splendidly it did … deep breath … courage level approximately six out of ten … “Hello, I wonder if I could take a photo of you and your humans?”.

Meet Bella, the two year old Cockapoo, and her humans, Mick and Pat.  Mick said that he did a bit of photography and he shot with Canon cameras.  He was a retired plumber but did the odd plumbing job for friends to keep his ‘hand in’.  He also played guitar.  He knew his stuff alright and  we chatted a little about guitars and music – right up my street!  Mick had a knee replacement a couple of months ago and was waiting to see a specialist as it was ‘clunking’.

Pat said they had just got back from Llangollen, Wales, in their tourer caravan.  She said they loved the freedom of it but they were always forgetting pack something.  The last time they went they forgot their phone chargers; this time they forgot their microwave so they had to cook their porridge on the stove!

Whilst we were chatting, Bella sat quietly and contentedly on the pavement in the sunshine.  Pat said that up until recently Bella wouldn’t have been this patient.

We drew our conversation to a close.  I kneeled down and Bella gave me her paw and a big kiss and we bid each other farewell. 

#6 Bella the Cockapoo, Mick and Pat

#6 Bella, Mick and Pat

 

 

 

#6 Bella

 

It’s been an exciting and somewhat scary week for me this week.  

As I was cycling home along the canal after teaching guitar on Saturday,  I received a phone call from  Adele, the manager of WEX photography in Birmingham.  She said that she wanted to put something to me and asked if was I free to talk? Adele has been very supportive of my previous blog, project, and book ‘100 Strangers and their Dogs’.

For those of you don’t  know,  I had 100 copies of a hardback book and sold them all, just by word of mouth.  Any profits that were made went to various dog charities.  The books went around the world, from the Uk to Ireland, America, and even Trinidad.  I now only have one  book left,  I have been totally amazed and humbled by how the book was received.

 

 

 

Anyway, long story short, Adele asked if I could do an ‘Inspirational Talk’ on the ‘100 Strangers and their Dogs’ project for WEX at a venue in Birmingham in the near future.

Now the cowardly me would usually respond with a most definite “No thank you, but thank you for asking”, however, I don’t know if it was how the stars were aligned or some new found courage from doing the first project, and now starting this one, but I said, “Erm, I could have a go, I’m not sure how or what I can do but if it can help others and maybe inspire just one person to start their own project then … okay?”.  What the devil was I doing?!  I felt touched and flattered that Adele had faith in me but my usual panic was immediately rising.

I got home, talked to family and friends, put the panic in the bottom drawer and forgot about it.  It might not happen.

Roll on Tuesday,  email from Clare, the events organiser at WEX, with all the details and requirements for my inspirational talk in April 2019.  Looks like it’s really happening then.  Watch this space!

https://events.wexphotovideo.com/100-strangers-and-their-dogs-a-seminar-with-mandy-burton-birmingham-3-april-2019

 

Thursday 28th February.

Où est le soleil?  

The sky was like a great big soft box today and it was raining, but it was not going to stop me from cycling to work.  It’s one of the things that keeps me sane and muddy!

Besides, there’s much birdlife with many a hungry tum awaiting their dinner so, armed with a plentiful bag of birdseed, off I went.

I’d not even  bumped all the way down the steps, but the birds were waiting.  I divided out the rations and before I’d even finished, out from the trees popped the most beautiful little pup with the biggest and cutest ears.  Meet Cookie, the cross breed and her human, Steve.  Cookie was about seven years old and was a rescue dog from Birmingham Dogs Home.  She had been with Steve for three years.  She wasn’t too interested in the ducks but was extremely curious as to what snacks I might have in my rucksack.  You could see the massive bond and connection that these guys had.  It was quite lovely!

#7 Cookie, the Heinz 57 and Steve, the humanSteve and cookie paw

Cookie front onCookie close

 

 

 

 

Friday 8th March

It’s been a rainy old week!

I’ve been busy this week getting ideas down for the WEX photography talk.  On Sunday morning  The Quarter Horse coffee shop in Birmingham was the perfect location, not only for coffee and breakfast, but to do some writing for the talk.  It was a really enjoyable experience.  Saying that though, I am still extremely nervous and apprehensive about it all.

Also this week I found a couple of lumps on the neck of my Dalmatian/Collie cross, Obi. He’s booked in to see the vet at the start of next week.

I also had a bit of bicycle maintenance to do.  There were around 12 thorns in my tyres that I had accumulated over the last few days, which resulted in 15 punctures!  The slime inner tubes got me to work but had to be replaced the next day, along with a new tyre. Still managing to cycle to work each day though – nearly a year now, non stop.

Today though, it was very cold and rainy, and I contemplated going to work in the car, but I figured the bird life on the canal needed a little sustenance, and I might meet a canine or two who were taking their humans for a walk, so cycling it would be.

It was so muddy  I decided to get off at Longwood locks.  I turned off right up the hill and saw an absolutely wondrous sight just in from of me.  Three amazing dogs and their humans – the full pack all out for a stroll.

The smallest and youngest member of the pack was the very vocal, Pippin, the five month old Chihuahua cross Miniature Pinscher.  Pippin was accompanied by Dodger, the 11 year old Collie cross, Winston the 22 month old Cavachon, Marie the lady human and Ray the male human.

They were all so lovely and very friendly.  Marie’s hair matched Winston’s fleece perfectly.

Dodger was a rescue dog who had been saved by Marie and Ray’s daughter while she was working  in her local rescue centre.  Marie and Ray had had Dodger for the last 10 years.  He really reminded me of my dog, Obi.

They all lived on a canal boat called ‘Two Odd Nuts’.  Two and a half years they had lived like this.  I remember that I spotted the boat when it was moored yesterday as I cycled past.  It had a painting of a Squirrel on the side and was quite wonderful!  The five of them travelled around so much and were never in one place for too long. Their human kids had to call them up every time they wanted to visit to find out exactly where they were!

#8 Winston, the Cavachon, Pippin, the Chihuahua Miniature Pinscher cross, Dodger, the Collie Cross, Marie and Ray, their humans

#8 Wins, Pipp, Dodg, Marie and Ray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 11th March.

Freezing cold out today.  This morning I had to take my dog Obi to the vets again.  I noticed a lump on his neck just over a week ago and then found another couple of small ones around and about.  The main one looked a lot like the mast cell tumours Dexter had removed last  July.  We saw Max at First Vets in Streetly and he thought it looked a little ‘off’.  Fine needle aspirates were taken from all three lumps and the results should be back in a week.  It is  worrying but on the positive side there’s plenty of skin so wide margins can be taken if needs be.  It was nice to see the  lovely Lynsey on reception.  She helped me weigh Obi, we had a little chat, and off I went.

Homeward to do a little more preparation for the upcoming WEX talk.

Time clicked on and time for work so off on my bike I went.  I took some seed for the birdlife and shared it out – I was met with lots of hungry tums and really noisy Geese.

I left the canal at Longwood locks as I couldn’t face getting really muddy again and I wanted to avoid the copious amount of thorns further up the towpath.

As I passed the Whitehouse pub I spotted two fluffy pups with their human.  I had the spirit of the cowardly lion running through me today so rode straight past them.  I kept riding on, but, after giving myself a good talking to,  I turned my bike around and cycled back up to them.  Say hello to one year old Ziggy  and four year old Woody, the Cockapoo brothers, with their human, Sue.  The boys were getting their coats cut the next day, but it was good to see them fully fluffed.

Sue said that the boys were chalk and cheese, Ziggy, the little black and white fellow was a little terror, he was always on the go.  Woody on the other hand, was very laid back.  I commented that I’d never seen a Cockapoo with a coat like Woody’s.  Sue said that it had taken her ages to find Woody as they are quite rare.

#9 Ziggy and Woody the Cockapoos, with their Human, Sue

#9 Sue Woody and Zigg bandw

 

 

 

 

#9Woody close

 

Sunday 17th March

The results for Obi’s neck lumps came back and they were inconclusive, but as the one on the back of his neck is growing and looks nasty, so to err on the side of caution, he is booked in on Wednesday to have two lumps removed. Watch this space.

A trip this morning to the brand new ‘Ultimate Vegan Cafe’ in Lichfield.  Dogs are very welcome here,  it’s an amazing place, with incredible food!  A good friend is a chef there, and I can highly recommend it.

Sitting across from where I was sitting were two beautiful pups and their lovely humans.

Luna, the two year old Labrador, little Sunny the three year old Cavachon, and their humans Liz and her daughter Emma.

Both of these beauties were in training to be assistance dogs with Dog A.I.D. (Assistance In Disability)

Dog A.I.D. (Assistance in Disability) was established in 1992 to assist people with physical disabilities, improving their quality of life by helping them train their own pet dogs to provide assistance with day-to-day tasks and in some circumstances providing life-saving interventions.

Liz had had Sunny from a puppy, you can follow her on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Sunnyorme/.

Luna came to Emma as a rescue last year, she was four weeks pregnant at the time, unbeknown to them, and had her litter of nine puppies on the 5th December 2018.  You can see Luna’s story here:    https://www.facebook.com/LadyLunaLab/ .

Dogs are such incredible creatures, they never cease to amaze me!

#10 Luna the Labrador, Sunny the Cavachon, and their humans Emma and Liz

#10 Liz Emma Sunny and Luna

 

#10 Luna D#10 Sunny D

 

 

#10 Luna and Sunny bandw

Wednesday 20th March

Today was the day my Dalmatian cross, Obi, had his operation to remove two lumps from his neck.  One is a tumour of sorts, but  not sure what type or grade until the pathology results come back.  Every digit is crossed, a very worrying time indeed.  As I am writing, he is resting, with a massive nasty wound staring right at me.  Much TLC over the next couple of weeks methinks.

Obi lying band w

 

Busy old day today.  After dropping Obi off at the vets this morning, then running usual Wednesday errands for my Dad, I headed back home to sort my other Canine son, Dex.  As it was a warm and sunny beautiful Spring afternoon, I decided to take Dex with me for the hours walk to do the school pick up.  With only the puddles for refreshment, I must add just for Dexter and not me, I’m not that partial to muddy water anymore, we headed up the canal towpath.

On the way home we encountered our first and only Canine,  and her human of the day.

Poppy, the two year old Irish Setter, and her Human, Shirley.  Shirley was operating the locks whilst her husband was driving the boat through. Poppy was doing a fantastic  job of supervising the whole operation.

Poppy was stunning and so calm and gentle.  Shirley said that Poppy used to be a terror and ate the curtains at home, as well as some of the table, but recently was the pawfect lady.  She also loved being on their boat, unlike their old dog.

I took several shots of these guys but they looked blurry through my viewfinder.  I didn’t realise that my diopter had been altered when my camera was serviced at The Photography Show earlier in the week by the lovely people at Fuji.  Luckily I realised, and was able to get some lovely shots of them both.

#11 Poppy the Irish Setter, and her Human, Shirley

#11 Poppy the Irish Setter and Shirley

 

 

#11 Poppy side colour

Thanks to Gina Milicia for Lightroom preset Sicilian Vintage.

#11 Poppy and Shirley b and w feet crop

Saturday 30th March 2019

It’s been a great week.  The vet rang on Monday with the pathology results for Obi’s lumps … the news was extremely good.  One lump was a histiocytoma, a benign skin tumour, and the other a small fatty lump, or lipoma.  Both were removed successfully and not dangerous, it was a massive relief.  His stitches came out yesterday, and he’s healing extremely well.  He even posed for a couple of photos.

Obi

Obi down thoughtful b and w

Obi posh bandwObi puffy c bomb edit

It was a beautiful day today, spring was  definitely in the air.  the sky was blue and perfect bike riding weather.

Cycling home, as I was running late, I decided that I wouldn’t take any dog shots unless I saw someone that I couldn’t resist.  Enter Rico the Rhodesian Ridgeback and his human Lee.  Rico was two years old but soon to be three, in June, and was born in Bristol.  He was one of 16 pups in his litter!  I really fell in love with Rico, not only was he strikingly beautiful, he was so affectionate, just gorgeous, I was smitten!  Lee was a Walsall supporter, and a lovely guy.  I mentioned that my friend Darren’s brother used to play for Walsall Football Club, Mark Rees.  Lee knew who he was straight away, and said that he was a great player, like a bullet.  I on the other hand,  know nothing about football at all.

#12 Rico the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Lee, his human

Rico and lee colour Filter#12 Rico square close#12 Rico square full run#12 Rico long#12 Rico and Lee bandw

The talk for WEX about the 100 Strangers and their Dogs project has been moved to 1st May 2019.  Phew!  I must say this pleases me as this gives me more time to prepare.  Come along if you’re able, be lovely to see you there.

https://events.wexphotovideo.com/100-strangers-and-their-dogs-a-seminar-with-mandy-burton-birmingham-1-may-2019

 

Sunday 31st March

Mothering Sunday, and the day began with an amazing surprise from my little one.  She made me a little model of myself and the dogs camera included, just brilliant!

fullsizeoutput_3701

Then off for breakfast at the ‘Ultimate Vegan Cafe’ in Lichfield.

After breakfast,  a potter around the shops lead to meeting my first Canine and her human of the day,  Seren, a Welsh name, the two year old Springador, a Springer Labrador cross, and her human Faith.  Seren was really calm and sweet with the cutest little legs. She was from working stock in Wales.

I met these guys inside ‘The White Stuff’ shop, where both humans and dogs are very welcome.

Sign E_.jpg

I plucked up my courage to ask the usual “I’m doing a photography project called 100 Canines and their humans, and I was wondering if I could take a photo of you and your lovely pup?” “Yeah sure!”

We popped outside and took the shot.  Faith even gave me her email so I could send her the photographs.  These guys were so friendly and sweet, we had a chat and parted ways.

#13 Seren, the Springador, and her human, Faith

#13 Seren and Faith

#13 Seren

#13Seren down#13 Seren and Faith sq BandW

Lichfield City Centre was jam packed with dogs today, it was absolute bliss.  There were far too many to stop everyone, but this fellow I just couldn’t resist.

Wallace the the seven month old Great Dane pup, and his humans Elyse and Connor.  Wallace was gentle, adorable, and HUGE!  Connor said that Great Danes were a German breed of domestic dog, and originally descended  from a mix of Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds.  As a younger pup children  would ask if Wallace was a Dalmatian.  Elyse and Connor had another dog at home, a Boxer called Chester.  These guys were lovely and we had a good long chat.  Wallace was a perfect gentleman,  a true gentle giant.

#14 Wallace, the Great Dane, Elyse and Connor the humans

#14 Wallace Elyse and Connor

#14 Wallace square crop

 

 

 

 

#14 Wallace

A little further on, while his human was busy at the cashpoint, I spotted a little fellow and was immediately drawn to his sweet little face.  His eyes really reminded my of my Dog Dexter.  Meet Ted the six month old American Bulldog cross, and his Human Jo.  Jo didn’t know what Ted’s father was, but said that his mother was a beautiful dog.  Ted was one of nine in his litter, and although he was young, Jo said that he was really well behaved indeed.  She went on to say that she’d had loads of different breeds of dogs over the years.

#15 Ted, the American Bulldog cross, and Jo his human

Ted and Jo bandw

#15 Ted close

#15 Ted and legs

#15 Ted and Jo stand

After leaving Ted and Jo, I  turned the corner and happened upon a  Street Fair. It turns out a friend had organised it.  It was great, live music, food and stalls, brilliant!  I saw another couple of old friends there, Gary, and Lucy, who was accompanied by her dog, Billy.  Lucy had rescued Billy from a local rescue centre four years ago,  at the tender age of one.  Now five years old Billy was a happy, relaxed and contented little girl.

Lucy often gets asked what breed Billy is, so she decided to get her DNA tested to be certain.  It turned out that she was a mix of Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Lurcher, a  lurcher is a mix of Border Collie and Greyhound – Lucy certainly knew her stuff.  However there was 11% not accounted for.  Billy recently had an encounter with a Badger, although she just wanted to play with him, the Badger decided it wanted to take a little chunk out of her ear.  Fortunately it healed well, and she’s fine now.  Lucy also added she only goes out to places where she can take Billy with her.  Their bond is wonderful to see, soul mates.

#16 Billy the Staffy Lurcher cross, and her human Lucy

#16 Lucy and Billy

#16 Billy

#16 Billy b and w side#16 Billy and Lucy b and w

Friday 12th April

Lots of teaching and biking today, there and back, and there and back again!  On the first journey to work this morning around 8.20am, I met Vinnie, the three year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and his human, Dave.  Now I hadn’t intended to take any photographs of canines and their humans today,  in fact I purposefully left my XT3 and 56mm lens at home.  I did however have my XT20 and the 18-55 lens in my rucksack, (as you do),and I have broken my own rule.  In this project I had intended to only use my 56mm lens, but because of the synchronicity of  todays’ meeting, I had to go with what I had.

I was on the  last stretch of the canal before I got to my studio,  and just up ahead I saw a guy and his little dog.  I slowed down to pass them, and was greeted by Vinnie the cute little King Charles.  I said hello to him and his human, and before I knew it I was having a good ole chat to Dave.  Dave said that Vinnie was his son’s dog, and he was just looking after him for a while.  Dave had lost his own dog Tommy, a black Labrador, a year ago to prostate cancer. He missed him dearly.  Dave said that his family all used to go on holiday together to Norfolk, and Tommy would run around on the beach.  It  was only now, a year on, that Dave was starting to think about getting another pup of his own.  He told me that he had a beautiful water colour painting of Tommy on his wall, that a local artist had done.  He said she didn’t copy pictures, she looked at several photographs and created an image from them. The painting was in fact a Christmas gift from his daughter.

Tommy by Vanessa Johnson       https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BellesAdventuresGB

Tommy, by Vanessa Johnson

Now this is the weird synchronicity bit.  I was on my way to teach guitar to a lovely lady, Vanessa, a local artist, who had done commissions of my boys Dexter and Obi.

 

 

Her art is beautiful.  Could this be the same person?  I asked Dave if her name was Vanessa, and he said yes!  In fact,  I remember Vanessa showing me the painting that she had done of Tommy in one of her guitar lessons a while ago.  What a small world it is!  Serendipity in its truest form!

#17 Vinnie, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Dave, the Human

Dave and Vinnie

VinnieDave and Vinnie B&W

Saturday 13th April

Cycling home from my morning teaching session,  I met these two lovelies ambling along the very sunny Canal.  Max the eight, soon to be nine year old Dalmatian and his human Glenn.  Max was super chilled out and very calm indeed, not your usual Dalmatian!  Glenn told me that Max was Epileptic and that he had his first seizure when he was just four years old, but the medication he was on kept him stable.  Max was a beautiful boy, and sporting a rather fancy scarf, he was very dandy.

#18 Max, the Dalmatian, and Glenn his human

Max and GlennBS.jpg

Max side colour CS

Max and Glenn head onCCMax headBS

 

Tuesday 23rd April

St George’s day, and ten whole days since my last canine and their human post.  I’ve been really busy trying to sort out the 100 Strangers and Their Dogs talk that I will be doing for WEX photography next week, gulp!!! So nervous!!!

A  few days in Devon is the only thing that can be done at this time…

There are so many dogs down here, wherever you go dogs a plenty!  Walking into Brixham today I knew I’d definitely get some new additions to this project.

First on the list was Monty and Bertie with their humans, Steve and Bobby.  Monty and Bertie were Shar-pei cross Cocker Spaniels, three year old brothers.  Their Mom was a pure white Shar- Pei, and their Dad was a working Cocker.  There were eight pups in the litter and every one had very different markings.  These boys were absolutely gorgeous!  Steve clocked my accent, and said that they too were from Birmingham. Steve’s eight year old Grandson Bobby was great at getting the dogs to pose for the photographs.                                                          Monty, the lemon coloured fellow, often got mistaken for a Beagle, he was a very calm and relaxed pup.  Bertie wasn’t as calm as his brother, but Steve said that he got stressed out by the traffic.  They were equally beautiful and very striking.  Steve added that they didn’t bark very often either.

#19 Monty and Bertie, the Shar-Pei Cocker Spaniel cross, with their humans Steve and Bobby

#19 Monty, Bertie, Steve and Bobby

#19 Bertie

 

#19 BandW STeve Bobby Monty nd Bertie

Heading up from the harbour, on my way to catch our little one busking, her first time ever!  She did a brilliant job and I was very proud of her indeed.

Right where she was busking I met my next couple of Canines with their humans.

First up was Charlie, the British Bulldog and his human, Nick.  Charlie was four years old and celebrated his birthday on St Valentines day.  He was extremely cute, and very chilled out.  Bulldogs are very family friendly, and great with kids. You can find him on instagram under: https://www.instagram.com/charlie__thebulldog/

#20 Charlie the British Bulldog, and his human, Nick

#20Charlie and Nick b and w

#20 Charlie

#20 Charlie close

#20 Charlie close face on

Only a short while after meeting Charlie and Nick, I spied a big beautiful Akita.  I’d not met an Akita in this, or in the last project, so I thought I better pluck up the courage and ask.                                                                                                                                                     Now I know you would have thought that by now, all the old fears that I originally had about asking people if I could take their photograph, would have disappeared.  Alas no,  some days I still struggle.

Meet Tom, the 18 month old Akita, and his human Denis.  Tom was like a Bear, just huge, but a gentle giant!  I sat down on the floor and got some shots, but not before giving Tom a massive cuddle.

Before Akitas had an “official” breed name they were referred to simply as “snow country dogs.” The breed originated from the snowy, rural, mountainous region of Japan, Akita and Odate, where they were used to hunt boar, elk, and the small Yezo bear. There is a museum in Odate devoted to the breed.  They have webbed toes to distribute their weight. There is also a spiritual significance attached to the Akita. When a child is born in Japan, the proud family will usually receive a small statue of an Akita, signifying health, happiness, and a long life.

#21 Tom, the Akita and Denis the human

#21 Tom Akita Denis

#21 Tom#21 Tom face lose

 

 

A much needed drink and a snack was to be had, so onto a visit to The Bay Coffee Company in Brixham harbour.

Big comfortable sofas, great food and drink, and cakes a-plenty, that’s why this place is a firm favourite.  Also, as loads of places are round here, is dog friendly.

Sitting to my left was a gorgeous female Border Collie.  I was totally smitten!  Brandie, the ‘about’ 11 year old rescue border Collie, and her humans Becci, and Becci’s Mom, Jane.  Brandie was rescued by Becci and Jane, when she was around two years old.  She was in quite a ‘state’ and very nervous when they got her, but, with plenty of love and TLC she blossomed into the little beauty that she was now.  Even though she was 11 years old,  she was as playful as a puppy, gave her paw like a pro, rolled over for tummy tickles, and was especially excited when the coffee shop owner bought her over some gravy bones as a treat!

#22 Brandie the Border Collie, Becci, and Jane, her humans

#22 Brandie, Jane and Becci

#22 Brandie

#22 Brandie Becci and Jane

#22 Brandie Colour

 

 

Thursday 23rd May

It’s been quite a while since I last posted, the main reason being that I had a cycle accident just over three weeks ago, on 30th April,  and, to put it quite plainly,  it fair knocked me about!

I was cycling to work, as I normally do, down the steps from the Sutton Road entrance. Whilst trying to steady the bird seed in my handlebar bag with one hand, the other on the handgrip, I threw my weight too far forward and my back wheel came up, throwing me over the handlebars and down the steps.  It was so weird because it happened in slow motion.  I remember thinking “there’s nothing I can do to stop this”.  Next thing I knew,  I was lying face down in the dirt and gravel at the bottom of the steps with my bike on my back, covered in blood, and winded to stink!   I checked my teeth and bones and, fortunately, nothing was broken, just bloody, bruised and battered. Bike survived with scratches, and broken lights.   My camera was in my backpack, no damage, phew!  I considered  myself extremely lucky, as it could’ve been so much worse, I could’ve ended up in the canal!!!  I did have a helmet on, and I hate to think what might have happened if I hadn’t.  A good friend, Chris, came to the rescue and took me and my bike home.  I had a couple of days off work,  physio, and  it was nearly three weeks until I could ride my bike again.

 

 

The day after the crash, May 1st,  the inspirational talk for WEX photography on the 100 Strangers and their Dogs project was due to happen.  Despite my war wounds, I managed to do it, fuelled up on paracetamol and ibuprofen, and it went really well.  To be honest I think the pain took the nerves away, and it was really fun.  Met some lovely people too.  It all feels like a bit of a dream, as I am the least likely person to do a two hour public talk, but you know what, I believe that  I would do it again!  This photography malarky is giving me courage, and not forgetting the love and support of friends, strangers and family.

So this new project had been put on pause, but only until I could bend my arm enough to hold the camera again.  My wrist and elbow are still dodgy, but it’s early days yet.

Cycling home tonight in the beautiful evening sunshine I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Ribbons, the four and a half year old Patterdale Terrier, and her human, Chris.  They were taking a stroll along the canal, and I just couldn’t resist saying hello and  giving Ribbons a fuss.                                                                                                                   Chris told me that Ribbons  was a rescue dog from The Dogs Trust in Evesham.  They had adopted her last year, and she was quite the character.  Full of energy,  ball obsessed, and very vocal (sounds like my dog Obi), but totally adorable.  Chris said that they originally adopted two dogs, but they didn’t get on with each other, no matter how hard they tried.  However, Chris’s daughter, who had just bought her first house, decided to take the other dog, and so all’s well that ends well.

#23 Ribbons, the Patterdale Terrier, and Chris, her human

#23 Ribbons and Chris

#23 Ribbons

#23 Chris and Ribbons B&W

 

Ribbons side#23 Ribbons wide

 

Saturday 2nd June

After work today I took a trip out to Moseley park for a picnic in honour of a very good friend’s birthday.  It was a lovely afternoon and a perfect place in which to  celebrate Danielle’s successful completion of another journey around the sun.  It was great to catch up with friends old and new, and also the perfect place to meet the next beautiful canine addition to the project, Joni, the little rescue dog from Nepal.

Joni was with her human, Lyndsay, who is an old friend of mine, however this was the first meeting with little Joni (named after the great Joni Mitchell).                                Lyndsay had adopted Joni three months ago from Nepal, and she was a pawfect little sister to Lyndsay’s other dog Hutch.

Joni was born on the streets of Nepal and was the only survivor from her litter. Her survival was partly due to the love and care that she received from a Nepalese guy, a former drug addict, who now went around rescuing all kinds of animals in need.  He gave them medical care and food and did his best to get them to safety.  He couldn’t keep little Joni so she went off to a rescue centre in Kathmandu.  This rescue is looked after by three women, one from Germany, one from Brighton, and the other a Nepalese local.

Lyndsay, had found about little Joni from a facebook page called:

Don’t panic Nepali dogs, we’ll find you a home

Lyndsay started the six month long process of adoption, she also managed to visit Joni whilst she was in Nepal travelling.

Joni was being temporarily fostered by a Norwegian diplomat while she awaited her long trip to her forever home.   It was here that she received all of her vaccinations and medical treatment that she needed in order to gain her passport to the Uk.

After six long months, she boarded the plane, and took the long journey to Heathrow airport where she was met by  Lyndsay, her new Mom.   She had  been through all of this, and little Joni was still only just a few months old.

Back to the now, Joni is a year old, and despite her difficult start in life, is a very happy and beautiful well adjusted pup, who is absolutely adored by Lyndsay.

#24 Joni the Nepalese rescue pup, and her human Lyndsay

#24 Joni and Lyndsay B&W

#24 Joni close

#24 Joni sniff

 

 

#24 Joni and Lyndsay look left

Thursday 20th June

At last a break from the endless rainfall that Mother Nature has been bestowed upon us. At least it’s leaving the grass a luscious shade of green, and it hasn’t stopped me cycling to work and back.  However I have been quite reluctant to pull the camera out in the rain, but I have continued to bring food for all the birdlife on canal.  They have become quite accustomed to me now, and I can even brush off the rogue birdseed that lands on the backs of the  Geese and Gosling’s, an honour indeed!

C54E3076-BF78-480F-826F-2E2E7A6F25E3

Cycling towards work, just after Longwood Boat Club, I happened upon my next little Canine, Tyler, and his Human, Mark.  Tyler was a nine year old Patter Dale/Lakeland Terrier cross, and had been with Mark since he was a pup.  Tyler was adorable, and reminded me of a Teddy Bear.  I had a little chat with Mark, and asked them if they would be part of the project, they agreed, hoorah!  I took several shots, thanked them very much, and bid them fare thee well.

#25 Tyler the Patter Dale/Lakeland Terrier cross, and Mark, his Human

#25 Tyler and Mark B&W

#25 Tyler landscape

#25 Tyler side b&w

 

#25 Tyler

 

 

Saturday 22nd June

An early morning sunny cycle ride to work, lead me to  my first canine and human of the day,  Roxy, the gorgeous little Shih tzu Rotweiler cross, and Jerry the man.  In fact I met Jerry yesterday when I ventured onto the canal to feed the birdlife.  He had a narrowboat moored up near to where I get onto the canal.  We had a really good chat.  He told me that he and his Wife, Mary, live in Canberra Australia six months of the year, and the other six are spent travelling the beautiful waterways on their boat with their little Chewbaccaesque pup, Roxy.  While they reside in Oz, Roxy lives with their brother on his boat with his Westie Dog, Dave.  Roxy, was a 100 percent bonafide boat dog, 11 years young, and born in Liverpool.

A little later on in the day, on my cycle ride home,  I had the pleasure of meeting Mary, who was sitting having her lunch in the sunshine on the bow of their boat, Roxy was looking ever hopeful for a dropped morsel or two.  I had a lovely chat with Mary, and she even offered me a cup of tea!  Their boat was called Angelica, the name of its previous owner, and  also a character from the cartoon, Rugrats.

#26 Roxie the Shihtweiler, and Jerry and Mary, her humans

#25 Roxy, Jerry and Mary

Roxy and Jerry B&W

#26 Roxy face

 

 

#26 Boat#26 Roxy sit portrait

I continued my journey towards work, running a little late as per usual as there were copious amounts of beaks to feed along the way today.  I reckon they’re talking between themselves because it’s as if they’re waiting for me to bring their breakfasts en mass.

Near Longwood boat club I spied familiar faces, it was the lovely Dougal and Craig from the first 100 project that I did last year.  Dougal had grown somewhat, and it was lovely to see them both.  They were accompanied today by Craig’s brother Scott, and his adorable little seven month old, Cocker Spaniel, Flora.  I had one of the ‘100 Strangers and their Dogs’ books in my bag and took it out to show Craig and Scott.  Craig had intended to buy a copy when the book was originally released, but hadn’t got round to it, so he made an on the spot purchase.

I took a few shots of Flora and Scott and then grabbed a couple of shots of the whole crew.  It was great to the guys again, and to meet some more of the family.

#27 Flora, the Cocker Spaniel, and Scott her human

#27 Fora and Scott

#27 Flora B&W close

#27 Flora and Scott stand

Craig, Dougal, Scott and Flora

#27 Dougal and Craig, Flora and Scott

#27 Dougal, Craig, Flora and Scott

The sun was shining still on my way home from work, in fact it was boiling hot.  I’d saved a little food for the birds on my return journey, it was the Swans who bagged most of the remaining booty though.  How could I refuse, they had five hungry Cygnets to feed.

The canal was pretty quiet at the Aldridge end, and I didn’t meet my next Canine and their human until I was nearly home.  I’d seen the dog and his owner several times along the canal, in fact I had asked the lady to take her photo during the first project, but she had politely declined as they had had a recent canine bereavement in their family.  Now a few months on, they agreed to be part of this new project. Hoorah!!!

Enter Moby, the humungous 13 year old Weimerainer,  Labrador cross, and his humans Simon and Julie.  Julie was a little camera shy, but the boys seemed happy to be in front of the lens.  Moby was stunning and didn’t look anywhere near 13!  He had a vet appointment later in the day but was kind and patient enough to let me talk copious amounts of photos.  Julie said that Moby was very protective of her, he certainly had the stature to carry out this job sucessfully.

#28 Moby the Weimerainer/Labrador cross, and his humans Simon, and Julie

#28 Moby and Simon Ttreat

#28 Moby Julie and Simon#28 Moby sit

 

 

 

#28 Moby landscape smile

#28 Moby landscape

#28 Moby B&W

#27 Moby lie and Simon

Wednesday 26th June

Been an exciting week this week as it’s the lead up to my little girls’ appearance on The Voice Kids UK this Saturday night.  Martha is always singing and playing her Ukulele, and has been writing songs since she was just five years old.  She is  pretty awesome, even if I do say so myself.

I nipped into Aldridge this morning to get a few groceries and supplies for my old Dad, and whilst in the square outside R1 Bar, I spotted an adorable little ole’ brindle Staffy girl, Libby, accompanied by her human, Rik.  Libby was 11 years young, and had been with Rik since she was just six weeks old.  She was the smallest of 11 pups in her litter.  Rik, told me  that he  had always had brindle Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and was immediately smitten with little Libby as soon as he laid eyes on her.  No surprise really, as she was so pretty,  gentle and laid back.  In one of the photos that I took,  I swear she was falling asleep right where she sat.  No leash needed here.

#29 Libby the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Rik the Man

#29 Libby and Rik

#29 Libby portrait

#29 Libby and Rik2

 

#29 Libby side sit

Thursday 27th June

Today I paid a visit to the home of  the cute and adorable Roscoe, the 15 week old Flat-Coated Retriever and his humans Simon and Joyce, and what a beautiful home it was!  I was made to feel extremely welcome and was greeted with a splendid cup of coffee and chocolate  biscuits to boot!  I had met Simon, a fellow photographer, a few weeks earlier at the inspirational talk that I presented for WEX photography.  He was there with our mutual friend Kate Green and some of their photography  group.  Simon and I  have been chatting on Instagram, and I was invited over to meet his wife Joyce and their new addition to the family, little Roscoe, and capture some shots of them for the project.  I’m usually quite shy in situations like this, but the draw of meeting and having a scribble with a puppy quashed any fears that I may have had.

I arrived after the school drop off and stayed ’til midday, it was a thoroughly lovely morning.  I got to roll around on the grass with Roscoe, meet the family of eight beautiful Guinea Pigs, I even had a snuggle with the very handsome young Hector pig.  Did you know Guinea Pigs vibrate?  Well I didn’t, but everyday’s a school day.  Simon was very knowledgeable about them, and I do believe these were the happiest little Guinea Pigs I ever did meet.  Joyce, Simon and I, plus three Guinea Pigs, and Roscoe, sat in the garden chatting and exchanging stories.  I had such a lovely time!  Even though Roscoe was only 15 weeks old he was so well behaved, calm even.  That was only until I got down on the ground to take some photos of him, and then aaaattttttacccckkkkk!  It was so much fun being dive bombed by a puppy though!

#30 Roscoe, the Flat-Coated Retriever and his humans, Simon and Joyce

Simon, Joyce and Roscoe

Roscoe square grass mouth

rosco-kitchen-bandw-e1561759303953.jpgSimon and Rosco band w

 

Roscoe walk wide colour

Roscoe portrait.

Rosco close

Friday 28th June

The sun has definitely still got its hat on, hip hip hip, hoorah!  This weather makes cycling so much more pleasant, however the thorns are numerous and no friends to my  bike tyres.  I really hate fixing punctures on this bike, and since taking the wheel off I’ve discovered a rather bad buckle in the rim.  A trip to the bike shop methinks!

On my way home along the canal I spied a couple of beautiful dogs, and their human.  Bogart was a five and a half year old Dalmatian, and he was stunning looking.  His human, Phil said that he had had Bogart since he was a pup, and described him as a lunatic and his best mate.  Bogart’s sister from another mister was Bonnie, the four year old Siberian Husky.  She was a rescue pup, and Phil had adopted her over two years ago. Both dogs were very active, but were happy to pose for a couple of shots, I even got kisses from Bogart!

#31 Bogart, the Dalmatian, Bonnie, the Siberian Husky, and Phil, the man

#31 Bogart, Bonnie, and Phil#31 Bogart 2

#31 Bogart 3

#31 Bogart 4

#31 Bonnie close

 

#31 Bonnie square b&w

#31 Bogart side b&w

Just before I reached my final destination, or as I prefer to call it, home, I bumped into a couple of familiar faces Neo, the Neapolitan Mastiff and his human, Sarah.  I often see these guys whilst I’m walking my boys, Obi and Dex, but  I never really get the chance to stop and say ‘Hello there’, as my two are always barking their heads off at Neo.  Today however, I seized the day.  Sarah told me that Neo was six years old, and that Neapolitan Mastiff breed originated from Italy.  Their  purpose was to guard royalty, families and property.  This was due to their protective instincts and their fearsome appearance.  Neo most certainly had a thunderous bark, and Sarah said he often did a little front paw jump to accompany the sound.

#33 Neo, the Neapolitan Mastiff, and his human, Sarah

#32 Neo and Sarah

#32 Neo side look

#32 Neo face square

#32 Neo drink square

#32 Neo drink

Monday 1st July

We’re all still elated in our house because of our daughter Martha’s appearance on The Voice Kids UK this weekend.  She got through the blind auditions and managed to secure the very last place on Danny Jones’s team.  This  was followed up with a TV appearance on Central News, and radio interviews with BBC Radio WM, and BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester, all very exciting stuff indeed!  No respite from the excitement though as she is appearing on The Voice again on Saturday to compete in the battle rounds.  Proud is an understatement, what an amazing kid she is!

So cycling home from work with the happiest peddling style my feet could muster, I crossed paths with this group of lovelies.  Lacie, the seven month old Pomchi, her human Dad Stuart, and her human Brother, five year old Freddie, also cycling.  Lacie was a beautiful little pocket rocket, her Mom was a Pomeranian cross Chihuahua,and her Dad was a full Pomeranian.  She was so cute, as was the gorgeous, super cycle little human, Freddie.

#33 Lacie the Pomchi, Stuart the Dad and Freddie

#33 Lacie Stuart freddie smile b&w

#33 Lacie head

#33 Lacie, Stuart and freedie smile

 

#33 Lacie Stuart & freddie and familiy smile b and w

Monday 8th July

A somewhat calmer week this week.  Last week was filled with radio and TV interviews for Martha, alongside  her Aldridge Youth Theatre production of Farmyard Invaders, which was really great! The week finished off with the  TV airing of her battle round on The Voice Kids, and gig on Sunday for both my band Eeek, and for Martha.  Busy is good, but, one does need time to wash ones smalls!

On the last leg of the canal journey home I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Tara, the  nine year old brindle Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her humans, Mike, Julie and Max.  Tara was a rescue from Oxfordshire, and had been with her current family for about two years.  Her previous owner had sadly passed away from a stroke, but in her past,  she had been living on the streets.  In October last year, Tara had been diagnosed with cancer on her heart and was given a two week life expectancy.  At that point Mike said all the rules went out of the window and Tara was allowed up on the bed, she was also allowed a packet of pork scratchings every other day. Nine months on from the diagnosis and she’s still going strong.  Julie said that Tara was never really alone as she spends her days split between her two jobs, one with Mom at The Sutton theatre box office, and the other at Nameplate UK Signage office with her Dad.  You could see she was a happy little beauty.  I chatted with Julie about my previous 100 strangers project and she suggested I do an exhibition, you never know! It also turned out that Julie’s son Jack went to the same Youth Theatre as Martha, and was in a production of ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ with her a while back.  Jack very cleverly animated a dog puppet during the show, its movements were based on Tara’s – how lovely!  My tummy was now rumbling quite loudly, it was 8.30pm, so I bid these lovelies farewell,  and continued on my way home to fill my belly.

#34 Tara, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Mike, Julie, and Max, her humans

#34 Tara family b and w

#34 Tara side look b and w

#34 Tara family legs

#34 Tara family colour

#34 Tara b and w tongue

#34 Tara sq smile

Friday 12th July

It always amazes me that there are so many new dogs and their humans to meet.  I figured that after just over a year of doing this, and the last project,  I would’ve pretty much captured images of  most of the dogs around this area, but I’m very happy to say ‘no, not even close’.

Earlier in the week however I crossed paths with some people and pups from the 100 Strangers and their Dogs project from last year.  John and George, and Andy and Loki.  It was really good to see these guys and catch up, no longer strangers.

George ( the Sprocker)

George sit face

Loki (Norwegian Elk Hound)

Loki head tilt

Cycling down the Sutton Road this afternoon, just as I was about to join the canal I spied a gorgeous little puppy and his human.  Meet Max, the four and a half month old Jack Russell, and his human Mom, Sarah.  Max’s human Dad was a photographer, and can be found on Instagram under EdJPearce.  I had a quick gander and there’s some beautiful landscape shots, as well as a few of the beautiful little Max.  The instagram for the project is @100strangersand theirdogs.

#35 Max, the Jack Russell Terrier, and his human Mom, Sarah

#35 Max and Sarah#35 Max close

#35 Max square

#35 Max front square crop

#35 Max side close lr edit s v

Sunday 14th July

Today was trip out to Stratford Upon Avon to check out a Venue where I’ll be photographing a friends Wedding in August.  I had a little practise run yesterday at a wedding where I was a guest.  It was  great fun as there was no pressure at all to get any sort of shot, and it helped for those awkward times when I wasn’t  quite sure where to put myself.  I would focus my energy outwards and take away the nervousness by taking phots .  I took the Fuji XT20 and the Fuji XT3, the first dual outing for the camera brothers,  along with the 56mm 1.2 and the 16mm 1.4 lenses.  Some of the shots are here on my personal instagram;

https://www.instagram.com/burty123m/

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/100strangersandtheirdogs/top/?hl=en

After checking out the venue, I had a little wander around town.  There was an incredible male vocalist busking on a street corner, he was amazing!  However my attention was elsewhere, meet Tom, the 21 week old Dalmatian puppy, who was born in Louth, with his human Dad, Dave.  Dave said that with Tom by his side he got lots of  attention, and you could see why, Tom was playful, adorable and absolutely drop dead gorgeous!

#36 Tom, the Dalmatian puppy, and Dave, his human

#36 Tom and Dave

#36 Tom square headshot

#36 Tom lay down#36 Tom sit balloon#36 Tom square

Wednesday 17th July

This morning I awoke with a start, I’d forgotten to set an alarm, so the day began with  headless chicken rushing roundness!  My boys got a shorter walk than usual so I could get the small human to school on time, then off to see my Dad and run his errands for the week.  It was a nice, but somewhat humid day, and as I had my camera with me I took a few shots of my Dad’s dog, Sprocket whilst walking him in the park.  He met a few of his lady dog friends, and showed them a little more interest than was wanted.  Reminiscent of “Peppy the Pew’.  As this current project is called ‘100 Canines And Their Humans’ I can take some liberties and include friends, relatives and acquaintances, as its not just strangers, so today I thought I’d include Sprocket and my Dad.

Sprocket is a terrier cross, and rescue dog who came to Dad from Angels Hope Rescue (now Buddy’s Angels Rescue) about two years ago.  Sprocket is eight years old and was found as a pup in Ireland with his legs tied together, thrown in the water.  He came to England and lived with a family in the East Midlands for the next few years, but they decided to pass him on to the rescue as he apparently growled at one of their children.  Sprocket does have issues, he goes a little ‘over the top’ if you try to leave the house, bites the doors and goes into a spin, but he is a very loving, intelligent fellow, and let’s face it, who is perfect anyway?  Dad adores him, and Sprocket reciprocates.  They’re inseparable.  My Dad is disabled, he needs two sticks to get around, and is still very wobbly.  A lifetime as a Milkman has taken its toll on his legs and spine, his wife is in a care home as she is bedridden and Dad isn’t well enough to care for her, so Sprocket is his constant companion and great company.  He gives Dad a reason to get up and Dad even takes him out on his mobility scooter for a walk.  Sprocket has a few small health issues but is generally doing well, and Dad makes sure he gets the very best care and treatments when needed. My Dad is a really good guy.

#37 Sprocket, the Terrier cross, and Joe (my Dad) the human

#37 Sprocket kiss.jpg

#37 Sprocket side pant.jpg#37 Sprocket sq tongue.jpg

#37 Sprocket and Dad laugh b&w

#37 Sprocket b&w landscape.jpg

Monday 22nd July

I’ve had a busy weekend with music related stuff.  Friday I had the pleasure of playing some guitar at The Greatest Showman opening night of L Fest, and accompanying some amazing singers, including Martha my kid, who really knocked my socks off with an incredible rendition of ‘A Million Dreams’, and the song ‘Tightrope’, in which she played her Uke.  You can find her on Facebook under ‘Martha Moxon Music’.  She’s really grown in confidence since the appearance on The Voice Kids Uk, and I’m extremely proud of her talent and how she has conducted herself, and only 13 years old!

It was roasting hot today, and as I was tuckered out from the weekend, was quite a slog on my bike.  I fed my numerous feathered friends en route with fruit and seeds.  Near Park Lime Pits I bumped into a couple of familiar faces,  Seth, the Gordon Setter, and his human Graham.  I often see these guys on my way too and from work, and Seth runs along with me whilst I’m cycling along.  He is extremely energetic and loves to be loved.  Graham said that Seth was very fond of me, and shows more than a normal level of  interest in other cyclists because of our encounters.  Seth is a big friendly, happy guy, and only 19 months old.  Graham said he is starting to calm down a little and is getting much better at coming back when called.  Graham is a retired Physics teacher.

The history of the breed dates back a fair way, and there are records of “black and tan setting dogs” being in Scotland that date as far as back as the 1600’s. However, it’s thought the Duke of Gordon brought the breed to everyone’s attention around 200 years later when he introduced them into his kennels. According to his records, The Duke noted they were not “fast dogs”, but they were extremely hardy with wonderful “staying powers” which meant they could work from morning till the sun went down at night with no trouble at all. He also noted they were extremely good scent dogs and seldom did they make a “false point”. If a Gordon Setter stood still, you could be sure a bird lay exactly where these dogs were standing.

#38 Seth, the Gordon Setter, and Graham the man

#38 Seth and Graham wide

#38 Seth sitting#38 Seth and Graham side

#38 Seth Flat b&w

#38 Seth and Graham black and white

 

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100 Strangers and their dogs….

Once upon a time there was a girl who quite liked taking photographs of her dogs on her iPhone.

This ‘quite liked’ soon turned into ‘love’.

The natural progression was to get a DSLR camera. 

After speaking to several photographer friends and getting recommendations , she decided to get  her first, the Nikon D3100. 

Time went by and this was upgraded to the Nikon 7200 (The D3100 decided it wanted to leave home and take up residence with a new family, which it did).

Before long,  she also picked up a Fuji X20. This was a quirky little fellow and a firm favourite. 

The last and most recent to  join the household was the Fuji XT20, and here is where the story really begins.

IMG_5500.jpg

A couple of features on the XT20 were proving challenging to fathom, so a text to a photographer friend who had the same camera was sent …

”Help me ObiWanKateNobi, you’re my only hope!”… Her reply was swift … “Free to talk Luke?” …

A conversation ensued where they compared camera settings; lots of geeky talk …

Problem solved..Hoorah!

cropped-img_13391.jpgThey then went on to chat more about photography in general and their deep love for this medium.

Kate, being a Jedi master and teacher of said medium, then suggested the idea of a photography project.

“You’ve heard of 100 strangers of New York?”

… ”Erm, I think so”

“Why don’t you try something like that?  100 Strangers of Walsall for example?”

“How about 100 strange dogs?  Or dogs and their owners!”, replied the girl.

Now the girl was quite shy and not the type to stop people in the street and ask them if she could take their photographs. Hmm… This would be the first hurdle!

You see, the joy of the camera is being in the moment. Nothing else exists; no past, no present, just the now. No worries or fears.  Being safe behind the lens, a window to the world, her world.

Interacting with animals is just observing and watching, and if you get a good shot then that is an added bonus.

But approaching someone, a stranger, and asking them if you can take their photograph, well thats a whole other level.

So one day (22nd June 2018) on her bicycle ride to work, along the canal between the Sutton Road Walsall and Brickyard Road Aldridge, she plucked up the courage to ask her first stranger if she could take their picture:  #1 Jack The Man and George and  Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

And so the story began…. Thank you for joining me on this journey…

#1 Jack and George, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, just fishing and sniffing.

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It was Friday 22nd June 2018.

I remember cycling down the canal tow path, silently talking to myself and desperately trying to summon up the courage to stop and ask someone with a dog if I could take their picture. I practised what I was going to say over and over in my head. Would it sound like I was a weirdo, or a creepy person trying to steal the souls of whomever I took the photo of?!  Would they say no?  Would they run off screaming?  Or would they just push me into the canal after stealing my camera?!

I approached the Longwood boat club and I saw a guy in the distance with a Golden Retriever.  Right here goes …

Nope!  I ended up riding straight past him. I couldn’t do it! Damn it! I was really disappointed with myself. Why couldn’t I just ask?!

I rounded the corner and carried on with my journey to work. In the distance I saw another guy and his dog. Before I knew it, I stopped my bike and blurted out,

“I’m doing a photography project called ‘100 Strangers and their dogs’ and I wondered if I could take your photograph? It’s okay if not, but erm…”

He smiled and said “Yes”.

Jack and George, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, were my #1.

I was so nervous.  I took three shots, showed him, and thanked him then jumped back on my bike, trembling so much I couldn’t pedal; my hands were really shaking but I’d done it!  I had taken a tiny ‘massive’ step.

Further along I saw two more people, with two dogs this time.  I approached them and they were lovely.  They responded with, “Of course you can!”.   They even gave me their contact number so I could send them copies of the photos.

#2 Mike, Katie, Madge and Mabel

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I felt so proud of myself that I’d got over the awkward hurdle of speaking to a stranger. Simple for some, very tough for me.

Off I went on my way and a little way along the canal, I approached a lady but this time my request was declined.  She said that she didn’t want her photo taking as she wasn’t ‘photo ready’, but she was very nice and encouraging about the project.

A little later in the day, on my way home, I successfully photographed a family having a drink at a canal side pub, with their 7-week old French Bulldog.

#3 Mom, Dad and The Kids

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Next up was a lovely lady called Liz, walking her neighbour’s dog Bronson. He was a French Bulldog cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Once I had taken the shot, she thanked me for doing this project and keeping history alive.

#4 Liz and Bronson the French Bulldog cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Finally, near home, I got a photo of a chap and his male Greyhound.  We walked and talked about the beauty and history of this historic breed. However, once again I forgot to get their names … I must get better at this! (Monday I saw these guys again whilst on my run, the man was called Ian and the Greyhound was called Ed)

#5 One Man (Ian) And His Dog (Ed) the Greyhound

#5 One Mand (Ian) and his Dog (Ed) the GReyhound

A visit to Kelham Hall and Country Park today to try our hand at archery.  Whilst waiting I met these four lovelies.

#6 Sophie, David, Amanda and Misty the Kerry Blue

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David and Julie were just packing up their camping chairs and we had a little chat. They told me that Alfie, a Jack Russel, was a rescue dog headed for Battersea Dog’s Home. He was a very vocal fellow and was definitely leader of their pack.

#7 Dave, Julie and Alfie the Jack Russel

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Monday 25th June, at the start of what promises to be a super sunny hot week ahead,on cycling to work,  I met Sarah, Libby and their beautiful little Cocker Spaniel, Lexi.

#8  Sarah, Libby and Lexi the Cocker Spaniel

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I continued on my journey to join the canal when I spied two snails on the pavement. I passed them by but had to turn around and go and save them as they would’ve been destined to cook where they were. That was a first – cycling along with two snails in my hand! Two snails in the hand were soon in the safety of a cool and shady bush…

Onwards!

Next, I met Stella, Katy and their 10 month old German Shepherd, Buddy.  Buddy currently weighed in at 30kg but would grow to around 45kg! He was a beautiful bouncy boy!

#9 Stella, Katy and Buddy the German Shepherd, walking in the sunshine and shade

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This chatting to strangers and their dogs is getting easier. Not stumbling over my words or slipping off my pedals … result!

I continued on my way, passing my old friends, the ducks and ducklings, herons, geese and goslings – one family has 12 babies, all still safe and sound!  However, something suddenly felt odd with my bike. I stopped and checked the tyres.  Another puncture! That’s now two in three days; a very thorny trail indeed! So, I walked the rest of the way, pushing my bike and cooking nicely in the afternoon sun.

Work done, puncture repaired and heading home, I met Jolie, Andy, Ted, Maisie and Louie the Weimaraner. Ted and Maisie were their parent’s dogs who they were looking after.

#10 Jolie, Andy, Louie the Weimaraner, Tiny Ted and Maisie

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Last up for today and nearly home, I met Julie, Dexter the Boxer and camera shy Phil. Dexter is a YouTube star – he howls to Space Oddity by Bowie – I must go and find him.  He loved his ball very much indeed but sat nicely for his photo.

#11 Julie and Dexter the Boxer

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Another scorcher today.  New tyres and inner tubes on the trusty steed, and away we go. As soon as I hit the canal I met Paul and his son’s Golden Doodle, Murphy. Those eyes!

#12 Paul and Murphy the Golden Doodle0391230E-370F-472C-BEB4-5C0CA2A81131

I continued on past the Longwood locks … Mr Heron was out fishing as per usual. I paused to feed the ducks some peas and seed; then I came upon Ross and his two lovely little Jack Russel dogs, Jacob and Rusty. They were very inquisitive.

#13 Ross with Rusty and Jacob the Jack Russel boys

Heading home, I met Perry with Ted and Lola the Cockapoos.  These pups were brother and sister, their coats were so soft and they’d been for a swim.  Perry and I chatted with an old friend, Chris,  about all the birds that were around locally.  Owls and Parakeets in abundance at the Lime Pits. Chris had some impressive photos!

#14  Perry with Ted and Lola the Cockapoos

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I continued on my journey home.  This used to take around 30 minutes, however it now takes over an hour! I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to as many strangers as I have these past few days. Confidence Status:  Improving.  Ahead in the distance I could see what appeared to be a Wolf … well, not a Wolf exactly,  but close!  Chloe was a German Shepherd cross Belgian Shepherd.  She was with her human family Lucy and Hayden.  She was only a pup so had a fair bit of growing to do.  Absolutely stunning!

#15 Hayden, Lucy and Chloe the German/Belgian shepherd cross

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A trip to the vets today with my Dad’s dog, Sprocket, a little rough-haired rescue. Just a check up for his ears so nothing too serious.  En route to the vets we met Steve and his beautiful little 18 month old Pomsky, Lady.  A Pomsky is a Pomeranian crossed with a Husky … Yes, I was wondering how that could’ve happened too!    Artificial insemination.  Moving on,  she had such a gorgeous soft coat and darted around like a darting around thing.  Steve said that there were not many Pomskies in the UK, but they were very popular in  the USA.  He added that she was very gentle and hardly ever barks.

#16 Steve and Lady the Pomsky

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Whilst running a couple more errands for my Dad I met Bill and Arthur. They were waiting for ‘the wife’.  Bill said that Arthur was 15 months old, and he had three other dogs at home – two Pugs and a Bassett Hound.   It was too hot for them to come out for a trip in the car though so it was just a ride out for Arthur today – best underbite of the project so far!

# 17 Bill and Arthur the British Bull Dog

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28th June and a almost a week since I started 100 strangers and their dogs.  My cycle to work was filled with many different species of birds today, but was somewhat lacking in four legged friends; this was probably down the the intense heat. As I was nearing the last stretch of my journey I met Vivian and her English Springer Spaniel, Finlay.  He didn’t seem at all bothered by the heat and was very happy sniffing the day away.

#18 Vivian and Finlay the English Springer Spaniel

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An early morning stroll around the Aldridge airfield is not only good for the soul, it’s a great place to meet a couple of strangers with dogs. Chris was walking with Archie the Lancashire Heeler.  Archie was a beautiful little chap of four and a half years old, and  was the runt of his litter. Chris rescued him.  Although only a little fellow, Archie was ‘quite taken’ with my Beagle Dexter.

#19 Chris and Archie the Lancashire Heeler

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As we were leaving the airfield, we crossed paths with Claire, Nahla and Dooley the freshly groomed Cockapoo sisters.  Claire and the girls lived in Newcastle but were visiting Claire’s parents in Aldridge.

#20 Claire, Nahla and Dooley the Cockapoos

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My next meeting with a stranger and their dog was on the cycle ride home from work, Terry and his dog Ben.  Terry told me that Ben was a pedigree mongrel.

#21 Terry and his Pedigree Mongrel, Ben

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Saturday 30th June 7.30am, surprisingly cool this morning. Cycling up the Sutton Road I had the pleasure to meet Del and Sheroo, a Siberian Husky/Malamute cross.  Del said that Sheroo was a very strong dog, but very friendly and playful, he was stunning.  I got off my bike and had to give him a cuddle.

#22 Del and Sheroo the Siberian Husky/Malamute cross

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I continued on my journey and  joined the canal.  A little way along I met up with Tim and Bella, the Italian Spinone.  Bella was 5 years old and had the most soulful eyes, she was very gentle and calm.

#23 Tim and Bella the Italian Spinone

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By the time work was over, the midday sun was burning bright and the temperatures were soaring!  The ducks, geese, moor hens and coots had eaten all my bird seed supplies on my way to work, so all I had to offer them on my return journey was chopped up cucumber.  They were not impressed!  The next stranger I met was Vern and his girls Siggy and Jet.  Siggy was a Siberian Husky, and Jet was a Belgian/ German shepherd cross.  They were both rescue dogs.  Jet’s tail had been broken in several places, and she’d obviously been through some trauma in her previous life, however they were beautiful calm, gentle dogs who were very much adored by Vern.

#24 Vern, Siggy the Siberian Husky,  and Jet the Belgian/German Shepherd cross

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Sunday 1st July, a trip out to Stratford Upon Avon to attend RiverFest.  There were dogs-a-plenty today, and first up was Janine with her five month old Chihuahua, Mousse.  Janine runs Paws and Claws Care for small dogs in Kenilworth.  Mousse loves to run about.

#25 Janine and Mousse the Chihuahua

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I wandered around, explored the stalls, and outside the beer tent I met Richard, the two Hannahs and Norman, the Pug.  Norman was two and a half years old.   All four of them were laid back and friendly, maybe it was the weather… or the location!

#26 Richard, the two Hannahs and Norman the Pug

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Next up I crossed paths with Lucy and her nine year old black Labrador Archie.  They too were enjoying the stalls and sunshine.

#27 Lucy and Archie the Labrador

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More pottering around and my attention was directed to the stunning dog I spied.  Her name was  Misty,  and she was a Border Collie cross Whippet from Romania.  She was once a street dog.  She had one blue eye, and one brown, she was so gorgeous.  Her family were April, Jayden, and Wayne.

#28 April, Wayne, Jayden and Misty the Border Collie

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Down by the riverside we met Nathan and Madison with their three year old Border Terrier, Bronson.  A cooling breeze from the water was much needed as it was roasting hot!

#29 Nathan, Madison and Bronson the Border Terrier

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Time for a sit down and to listen to some music.  I thought I spotted a Great Dane puppy, but I was mistaken, it was Tucker, the Cane Corso, a mastiff type pup, and his human Mom, Sarah.  Tucker was three and a half months old and had quite possibly the biggest paws of this project so far!

#30 Sarah and Tucker, the Cane Corso

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Whilst chatting to some dear friends I had not seen in a while, I spotted a pup that instantly melted my heart.  His name was Parker and he was a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Labrador, so a Cockador.  Six months old and beautiful.  His human was called Cassie, and both their hair colours matched perfectly.

#31 Cassie and Parker, the Cockador

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Dog on a boat!  My friend called me over to where the narrow boats were moored.  Meet Captain Paddy,  with his humans,  Jo and Keith.  Paddy was a 14 year old Border Collie who was deaf;  he didn’t look anywhere near 14, he was beautiful and gave many kisses.  Jo said that they had had him from the Border Collie rescue when he was 11 months old.  His previous owner had died of emphysema and Paddy was taken to the rescue on a Saturday morning, Jo and Keith took him home on the Saturday afternoon, a lucky boy.  Jo went on to say that they would never have another dog after Paddy because he was so perfect, and no pup could ever fill his paws.  Paddy has a facebook page called Boatdog Paddy.  Jo was a keen photographer.

#32 Jo, Keith and Paddy the Border Collie

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RiverFest done, heading towards home I stopped off at a lovely pub for some food.  There I met Guy, and his dogs Mishka, a Lurcher cross Akita, and Ella a Black Labrador.  They were eager to go for a walk so I stopped them only briefly to grab a quick photo.

#33 Guy, Ella the Labrador and Mishka the Lurcher cross Akita

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Sitting having a quiet drink in the beer garden was Sharyn and Ruskin, the eight month old Golden Retriever.  Ruskin was born in Swansea, much like my Beagle Dexter, and was huge for only eight  months old!  Sharyn was a lovely lady, and we had a good chat.

#34 Sharyn and Ruskin the Golden Retriever

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Monday 2nd July, back to cycling the canal.  Today was a physiotherapy session for me with Jedi Nat.  No dogs were seen en route to work as it was so hot, but I met a couple on the way home.  First up was Alison, Tony and their Bearded Collie, Roxy.  Roxy was sporting a new hair cut and was very friendly, super soft, and well… just lovely!  She was 10 years old, but looked like a puppy.  Tony and Alison said that they rescued her many years ago from Rosedene.

#35 Tony, Alison and Roxy, the Bearded Collie

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My final encounter of the day was with Galit, Jason, Roselyn, Elizabeth, and their 12 week old Springer Spaniel, Ruby.  Cuteness overload!  Ruby was off leash and very well behaved.  She showed a particular interest in the canal water, and before you could say Taumatawhakatangihangakoayauo-Tamateaturipukakapikimaungahoro-Nukypokaiwhenuakitanatahu, she’d jumped in for a swim.  Galit fished her out and she proceeded to roll in the undergrowth to dry off.

#36 Galit, Jason, Roselyn, Elizabeth,  and Ruby, the puppy Springer Spaniel

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Tuesday 3rd July, the cycle ride home was very quiet … ‘this town… ahh ahh.. is coming like a ghost town’, it must be due to the England word cup game on TV tonight.  At the start of my journey I met a lovely lady called Lesley, and her Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Archie.  He was a great big bundle of joy and greeted me with the biggest Staffie smile.  Nine years young!  We chatted for a little while and I mentioned that I was a guitar teacher.  What a small world; it turns out that Lesley’s other half, Ian,  is coming for a his first lesson with me on Saturday!

#37 Lesley and Archie the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Wednesday 4th July, whilst walking my Dad’s dog Sprocket in Short Heath Park, a place where I spent many a happy time as a kid, I met Margaret and Teddy, the 12 month old Pomeranian.  Teddy was off to the vets today for his first booster injection.  Margaret was waiting to have a cataract operation on her eye.

#38 Margaret and Teddy, the Pomeranian

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Friday 6th July, it has been very quiet these last couple of days, not many dogs about on the canal, plenty of birdlife though.  It wasn’t until I was nearly home that  I  had the pleasure of meeting Marzena and her seven month old Rottweiler, Chelsea.  Chelsea was big, beautiful, and full of beans!

#39 Marzena and Chelsea, the Rottweiler

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Saturday 7th July, yet another super sunny day and the best summer I can remember since when I was a kid.  The early morning cycle ride is truly a wonderful one at this time of year.  Ducklings and their mothers still snoozing on the canal side, the 12 goslings and their parents, coots and moor hens with their babies, just blissful.  I always take a bag of bird seed and distribute it to the best of my abilities between them all.

My first encounter of the day was with Gez and his six year old Wire Haired Vizsla, Murray, at the Longwood bridge.  They were both out for an early morning run, and Murray was very vocal about having his photo taken.

#40 Gez and Murray, the Wire Haired Vizsla

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Onwards…  and before long I had the pleasure of meeting Corinne, Neil and their gorgeous little rescue dog, Cy.  Cy was six years old, and rescued from Cyprus.  He was shy of strangers, but could pose for a portrait pawfectly!

#41 Corinne, Neil and Cy, a Heniz 57

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Back on my bike and peddling like a demon, I noticed my hand and leg felt wet!   I glanced down to see what I didn’t really want to see … maybe it’s mud …  nope. ..  It was poo, thankfully not mine!  A gift from the geese had been thrown up from my wheel and distributed about my person!  Thankfully I had bottle of water to wash it off with and continue on, damp, but clean.

My final encounter of the day was quite a special one.  Dave the human, Amy the 20 year old pup, and her sister Alex, who was a mere 18 years old!!! Amy’s birthday is 10th August, when she’ll be 21, and although she has cancer, she still loves going for a walk each day.  An old lady she may have been, but she looked very happy.  Dave told me that they were both rescue dogs that he had adopted at just six weeks old.  He told me that he had another dog, but sadly it crossed to Rainbow Bridge just before Christmas, it was also 18.  I certainly don’t think i’ll meet any older dogs than this on my  ‘100 strangers and their dogs’ mission.

#42 Dave, Amy sitting,  and Alex off sniffing in the distance

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Tuesday 10th July, and today was a visit to the vets with my dog Dex.  Found a lump on his back and so went to get it checked out.  Fine needle aspirates were taken, and am awaiting the results.  Today I travelled to work armed with a box of bran flakes, a big bag of bird seed and a bag of frozen peas, all for the various species of birds and their babies en route.

I hadn’t been on the canal for more than a  minute when I met my first stranger, Stuart and his 14 month old Golden Retriever, Murphy.

#43 Stuart and Murphy, the Golden Retriever

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The bran flakes and seed went down well amongst the canal birds, but the peas, not so much.  Near the Park Lime Pits I had the pleasure of meeting  Margaret and Allan out walking their daughter’s dogs, Alfie the little black Shitzu, and Molly the Maltese.  Alfie was six years old, and Molly was five.

#44 Margaret, Allan, Molly the Maltese and Alfie the Shitzu

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Whilst heading home I met Fiona and Marley, the five year old Staffie cross.  From behind I could’ve sworn that Marley was a brindle English Bull Terrier.  Marley  was Fiona’s first dog, he was a rescue and came with his name.  He was a solid happy bundle of joy.  Fiona and I  chatted for a while, then I mounted my bike and headed off, leaving Marley wrestling with a stick, or should I say more of a tree!

#45 Fiona and Marley, the Staffie Cross

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Almost home, and I met Amanda and her  seven year old black Labrador, Dora.  They were on their way to meet  friends for a walk, but not before helping me out with my photography project.

#46 Amanda and Dora, the LabradorIMG_5498

Thursday 12th July, my journey along the canal, there and back again was dog free but bird filled.  Three boxes of cereal later,  and nearly home,  I spotted two beautiful Basset Hounds and their dog sitter, Alison.  Lily was the tri-coloured girl and Daisy, the lemon and white.  They were so cute and very laid back.  Alison boards and walks her friend’s dogs, she said it helped fill the gap after she lost her beloved pup a while ago.  Also as I flicked through my camera photos, Alison recognised my previous stranger, Amanda and  her pup Dora,  who she also walks.

#47 Alison, Lily and Daisy, the Basset Hounds

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Friday 13th July, and the sun is still shining.  The grass is a lovely shade of dried up yellow but it is  excellent weather for cycling.

The first stranger of the day was John, he was walking his friend’s Belgian Malinois, Jem. A striking dog she was.  John said that the breed were were used as service dogs in Belgium by the police force.

#48 John and Jem, the Belgian Malinois

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Back on the bike and onto the canal feeding the water birds and their chicks as I made my way towards work.  If distance could be measured by how many boxes of bran flakes you would get through by doing this, then I was nearly two boxes in when I met Isabelle, Michelle, Archie ,the sprocker spaniel,  and Freddie, the springerdor.  Both of the pups were full of beans, Archie had been for a dip.  Standing still for a photograph was not on their agenda for the day, but it was lovely to meet them.

#49 Isabell, Michelle, Archie, the Sprocker, and Freddie, the Springerdor

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Saturday 14th July, and heavy hearted as I had lab results last night from aspirates that were taken from lumps found on my Beagle, Dex.  Two mast cell tumours that need to be removed this week, but on the positive side, they’re not attached to any muscle and only on the surface of the skin.  Still worrying though, but he’s a tough boy.

My journey home led me to an encounter with Karen, Aaron, and Sam, the 3/4 labrador 1/4 cocker spaniel.  Samewas eight years old but he looked like he was still a pup.  He’d been for a dip in the water to cool down, and was somewhat camera shy.  I still managed to get a photo of his face, and plenty of his butt!

Half way to the 100!

#50 Karen, Aaron and Sam the Labrador/Cocker cross

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Wednesday 19th July, and still reeling from the news about my dog having mast cell tumours.  His operation is booked for Friday this week.

As it’s Wednesday its the day of the week I run errands and do chores for my Dad.  Whilst walking his dog I met Angela and her Yorkiepoo, Betsie.  Betsie was adorable, friendly,  and so puppy like, even though she was eight years old.

#51 Angela and Betsie, the Yorkiepoo

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Dexter, my Beagle, had a vet appointment later in the day, so I decided to walk there and along the canal.  Dex hates water, but mistook the lily pads for solid ground and plopped straight in. It was the shock of his life!  He got  out again very quickly.  Just after Dexter had his mishap,  we met our first Beagle of the project, Benji and his human, Mitchell.  Benji was eight years old, and was off leash, unlike Dex.

#52 Mitchell and Benji, the Beagle

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Thursday 19th July,  and I heard this fellow before seeing him.  Most definitely the loudest and deepest bark so far, as well as the biggest dog, Quinn, the Great Dane and his human, Lee.  Quinn had one blue eye and one brown eye, he was beautiful.  Lee had recently lost his other pup to a tumour on his spleen,  he didn’t want to leave Quinn home alone, so brought him to work.

#53 Lee and Quinn, the Great Dane

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Monday 23rd July, and yet again another hot one in this endless summer we’re having.  The landscape has turned from green to brown, and the canal waters, on my route anyway, are the greenest of green.

A little way along the canal, after the Longwood boat club, I met Helena and Pippa the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.  Pippa was seven years old, and very affectionate and friendly.  I chatted with Helena who relayed that Pippa loved people, this was quite apparent with the kisses that she shared.

#54 Helena and Pippa, the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel

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My workday was done, and on a cool evening cycle ride home I spied a trio of Weimaraners up ahead.  Their humans were, Terry and Lorraine.  The canines were Llew, three years old, Hans, a spritely thirteen years young, and Nimüe, who was the baby at two years.  Llew and Nimüe were long haired Weimaraners,  I didn’t even know these existed!  I was told that they’re quite rare, in fact Llew, a silver long haired, is the only one of his kind in the midlands.  His father was a Crufts champion, but Lorranine and Terry said that he’d much rather play than be a show dog.  Nimüe was a long haired blue and was rescue.  Hans was very vocal.  The family were soon to be moving to the Shropshire countryside,  as it would be nicer for the dogs.

#55 Terry, Lorraine, Llew, Hans and Nimüe (the lady of the lake), the Weimaraners

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I continued on my journey towards home but was stopped in my tracks by the very gorgeous Myrtle, the little black cockapoo.  Her human was Lydia.  Myrtle was just a year old and had the softest coat.

#56 Lydia and Myrtle, the Cockapoo

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Tuesday 24th July, and today I received some great news from the vet about my dog Dex. The lab results came back and two of his lumps were just fatty masses, the two mast cell tumours came back as low grade and fortunately the vet was able to take clear margins.  This was a massive relief,  now to nurse him back to full health.

My 57th stranger and his dog was Alex and his Frug, French Bulldog cross Pug, Pablo.  Pablo was a three year old brindle boy who was very laid back.

#57 Alex and Pablo, the Frug

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Friday 27th July, and the weather is still roasting hot.  On my return journey from work I crossed paths with Anne and Digby.  Digby was a four year old Labrador cross, who was rescued by Anne from Birmingham Dog’s Home when he was just eight months old.  Anne said that she was a little fearful of dogs at the time, and when they went to look around most of the pups were barking at their cages as they passed.  That was until they approached Digby’s pen, he put his paw up towards her like he was reaching out, she knew then that he was the ‘one’, she had been chosen by him.  Anne said that Digby was so intuitive of her mood, if she was relaxed, then he was too, if she was fearful, then he was the protector.  A beautiful boy he with amazing amber coloured eyes and the whitest teeth I had ever seen!

#58 Anne and Digby, the Labrador cross

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Saturday 28th July, an early morning cycle ride to work, and it was looking like it was going to rain.  A little way along the cycle route I met Karen the human, Diesel the four year old German Shepherd, Sacha the two year old liver nosed Rhodesian Ridgeback, Daisy the four year old Rhodesian Ridgeback and Muffin, the Heinz 57 variety RSPCA rescue pup who was also four.  A stunning and very happy pack of dogs they were, and Karen said that Diesel was totally head over paws in love with Sacha.  The photo tells all.

#59 Karen, Daisy (just her head) the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Diesel the German Shepherd, Sacha the Rhodesian Ridgeback and Muffin, the Heinz 57

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Tuesday 31st July, our little ‘uns birthday, and little over a month since I started this blog and photography project.

A trip into Sutton Coldfield today resulted in me meeting my 60th stranger and their dog.  Dave and his American Bulldog/Staffy cross, Jax.  Jax was rescued by Dave, when he was just seven months old.  Now aged 18 months, and, although kept in a crate for long periods of time by his previous owners, and receiving no training at all, he was now a  model citizen.  Dave’s hard work and training had paid off, Jax was a very strong, happy, gorgeous fellow, and you could really see their bond in the photograph.

#60 Dave and Jax, the American Bulldog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross

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Monday 6th August, cycling home, and even though it was after eight in the evening, the weather was still sunny and hot.  My first strangers of the day were Andra and David with their girls Minnie, the three year old Scottish terrier and Storm, the one year old American Bulldog.  Minnie seemed quiet and inquisitive, Storm was very happy and bouncy.  Both beautiful dogs.

#61 Andra, David, Minnie the Scottish Terrier, and Storm the American Bulldog

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I left the canal and crossed paths with Ben, Alexandria and Dillie the one year old Dalmatian, she was gorgeous and very friendly indeed.

#62 Ben, Alexandria, and Dillie the Dalmatian

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Thursday 9th August, and I’ve just had a message fro Dave, the 42nd stranger and his dogs, that Amy has passed away. She would have been 21 tomorrow. What a long lovely life and a beautiful smile she had. RIP Amy

Monday 13th August, Brixham, an adventure on the SouthWest Coast.  This morning on my way into Brixham harbour on a coastal walk, I met John, Shaun and Lenny the English Bull Terrier. Lenny was five years old. Lenny had a sister but she was resting up as she had hurt her leg.

#63 John, Shaun and Lenny the English Bull Terrier

A short and lovely walk into Brixham, and as I approached the harbour, sitting and soaking in the sights, I met Terry and Bear. Bear was a rescue dog from Many Tears Animal Rescue in Wales. Terry had recently adopted Bear after losing his old dog before Christmas. Bear was originally from Southern Ireland and was settling in well. He was so gentle and relaxed. You could see these boys had a deep connection. Bear can be seen on you tube if you look for ‘Telsweb’.

#64 Terry and Bear

Wandering around the streets I spied a little cutie with her humans. It was Joe and Wendy with Layla, their seven year old Chihuahua cross, or Itsy Bitsy as Wendy fondly called her. These guys were from London and down here helping out a relative who had recently moved to Brixham. Layla was a rescue dog from Romania and very sweet.

#65 Joe, Wendy and Layla the Itsy Bitsy

Whilst wondering around some more I passed two little beauties waiting patiently outside the bank, I had to steal a shot of them.

Onward for more pottering and I spied them both again, this time with their Mamma Sue. Twelve year old Polly was a Patterdale/Jack Russel Terrier, and her seven year old younger brother Ben, was a Jack Russel. Polly looked amazing for her age, with a lovely smile, but both were gorgeous pups.

#66 Sue, Ben the Jack Russel, and Polly the Patterdale cross Jack Russel

My final stranger and their pup today was Rosie and her beautiful little five month old pup, Crunchie. Crunchie was a Patterdale/Pomeranian cross and although he looked like an angel, was a little devil. Rosie said she had three other rescue pups at home.

#67 Rosie and Crunchie the Patterdale cross Pomeranian

Tuesday 14th August, and my dog Obi’s 10th birthday.  The day began with a lovely early morning birthday ramble with the dogs up to Berry Head. We did meet a couple of pups en route but I didn’t take my camera. I dropped the dogs off for a well earned rest at the caravan and then headed off on foot to Brixham harbour. Today though, I took the coastal path.

My first stranger of the day was a lovely lady called Kay and her beautiful little Dachshund pups, 15 year old Spike and six year old Wilma. Spike had recently won first place in a golden oldie contest. Kay explained that he was in a buggy today because he was slow on his legs and at 15 gets tired out. As he’d been on a big walk the previous day, today he was resting up. Wilma came along six years ago to keep Spike company after losing his beloved friend, a chocolate Labrador. Kay explained that every time he spied a chocolate labrador he got excited until he realised it was not his long lost friend.

#68 Kay, Spike and Wilma the Dachshunds

Walking around the harbour I was stopped in my tracks by a beautiful and unusual dog, it was Fergus the three year old Irish terrier and his human Jenny.

#69 Jenny and Fergus the Irish Terrier

I said goodbye to Jenny and Fergus, and waiting behind me was Nicky, Steve and their pups Hollie the six year old Greyhound/Saluki cross, and Lacey the Saluki/Whippet cross. Lacey was 16 months old and recently won the ‘best in show’ at a local fete.

#70 Nicky, Steve, Hollie and Lacey the Saluki crosses

Lunch done and in the queue for ice cream, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Sally Cheah, and her extremely cute and friendly little four year old Chihuahua, Ralphie.

#71 Sally and Ralphie the Chihuahua

Wednesday 15th August and a visit to Torquay resulted in a meeting with Jeff and his nine week old Husky puppy, Hiro. The bluest eyes and the cutest little face. I spotted him earlier in the day as I was tucking into a nice chocolate soya milkshake, but didn’t get to meet him until a little later on. Whilst I was in TK Max I saw him again, and this time I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask his owner for a photograph of them both.

#72 Jeff and Hiro, the Siberian Husky pup

More shop hopping and an encounter with a lovely family and their ten and a half year old Lurcher/Staffordshire bull terrier cross, Bernie. The family consisted of, from left to right, Summer, Mom Maria, Bobby, Dad Dave and Lily.

#73 Summer, Mom Maria, Bobby, Dad Dave, Lily, and Bernie the Lurcher/Staffie Cross

Friday 17th August, final day of the holiday in Brixham.

Another walk into the harbour via Berry Head and en route I met my first strangers of the day, Alan, Kate and Reilly. Reilly was a two and a half year old Shitzu/Bichon Frise cross and she seemed extremely laid back.

#74 Alan, Kate and Reilly the Shitzu/Bichon Frise cross

The second and final stranger and their dog of this holiday, was Andy and Benji, the 11 month old French Bulldog. Andy and Benji were fellow Midlanders, and Wolves fans.

#75 Andy and Benji, the French Bulldog

Monday 20th August, and the first day back to work after a lovely holiday in Devon.

On my return journey along the canal I spied a beautiful little black dog. Her name was Poppy, she was a Sprollie, a spaniel cross collie, and her human was Dané. Poppy was a rescue pup from a puppy farm in Ireland. She was about two and a half years old, but had already had a couple of litters. Dané had had her for about five months and said she was settling in really well. She loved chasing Squirrels and Ducks, but not catching them. Also she liked the occasional dip in the canal. She was a little beauty and so gentle. Dané told me that he taught photography (what are the chances eh!).

#76 Dane and Poppy, the Sprollie

Tuesday 21st August, and a frantic cycle along the canal as I was running late. The reason for this lateness was because every single duck that I passed today demanded some food and who was I to argue with their hungry tums? I’ve been feeding them for some time now and they must know the sound of my bike as they waddle up the path squeaking towards me, or usually on my route home when I’m all out of bird seed, they fly along side me, occasionally landing to quack for their dinner. Note to self, must take more food for them and not use it all on the outward journey.

Even though I was late for work I still had time to stop my first strangers and their dog of the day, Pam, Malcolm, and their son’s English Bull Terrier, Rosie. Rosie was nearly two years old, and quite lovely. I do have a soft spot for this breed, I blame ‘The Incredible Journey’ film.

#77 Pam Malcolm and Rosie, the English Bull Terrier

Homeward bound and I spied what I first thought might be a Husky; nope, it was Loki, the Norwegian Elk Hound with his humans Andy and his son Frankie. At just a year old Loki was the fourth Norwegian Elk Hound that Andy had owned, and was strikingly beautiful.

#78 Andy, Frankie and Loki, the Norwegian Elk Hound

Wednesday 22nd August, and a day of running errands for my dad.

Whilst walking Dad’s dog Sprocket, I had the pleasure of meeting Jason and Rosie in Short Heath park. Rosie was a Lurcher crossed with a Spaniel and was six years old. Jason was man and was 48. Rosie’s previous owner, who was a friend of Jason’s, had sadly passed away three months ago. He had known Rosie since she was a puppy and decided to adopt her. The thing that drew me to Rosie, besides her being gorgeous, was that she really reminded me of my dog Obi – not how she looked, but her energy and enthusiasm whilst chasing her ball.

#79 Jason and Rosie, the Lurcher cross Spaniel

I had to make a trip to the vets to pick up some Omega+ to help with Sprocket’s skin allergy and I crossed paths with Pam and her delightful little grunting rescue pup, Blue. Blue was a French bulldog cross and was nearly two years old. So cute!

#80 Pam and Blue, the French Bulldog cross

Wednesday 29th August, and a trip into Walsall town centre.

Today I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Russ and Marley, the five year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier.  I have seen Russ and Marley locally on the streets for sometime, and the incredible connection and friendship between the two of them is really something quite magical.  Marley is a beautiful well behaved fellow and Russ is a true gentleman.

#81 Russ and Marley, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

#81 Russ and MarleyE

Monday 3rd September and there’s a wee chill in the air.  However, I may feel it a little more as I’m still sporting shorts, refusing to let the summer go.

The cycle ride to work today resulted in me meeting Sue and her beautiful little Plummer Terrier, Cassie.  Cassie was a rescue dog that was somewhere between five and ten years old.  She was the last dog to be rescued from a local shelter that was due to be closed down.  Sue explained that she used to volunteer there and took Cassie home with her as she couldn’t bear to leave her all alone.  Sue was originally going to foster Cassie, but after one night she just couldn’t let her go.  She used to be aggressive towards other dogs, but with tender loving care from Sue this issue soon disappeared.  Cassie was extremely fond of tummy tickles and even responds to a whistle ‘when she feels like it’.                                The Plummer Terrier breed was bred by David Brian Plummer, a local teacher and dog breeder.  Jack Russel, Beagle, Fell Terrier, and Bull Terrier make up the Plummer Terrier.

#82 Sue and Cassie, the Plummer Terrier

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Wednesday 5th September.

Whilst walking my Dad’s dog Sprocket I spotted my first and only stranger of the day;  Chris the old codger (his words), and Casey the Ardennes sheepdog mix.  Casey was a rescue dog of around eight years old.  He had been found neglected and cooped up with female German Shepherds, only fed on scraps and bones once a week!  Chris explained that Casey was a gentle pup,  but because of the neglect he’d suffered was now very wary of German Shepherds.  He also added that he always had rescue dogs.

#83 Chris and Casey the Ardennes Sheepdog mix

#83 Chris and Casey

Friday 7th September, and it’s my Beagle Dexter’s birthday.

A chilly and damp cycle ride to work, and feeding the ducks en route,  I had the pleasure of meeting Steve a fellow duck feeder, and his five year old female Staffie cross Marley.  Marley was rescued by Steve when she was only six months old.  He said that he wasn’t sure what she was crossed with, maybe a Rottweiler, Doberman or even an Alsatian.  She was adorable, so well behaved and loved her ball.

#84 Steve and Marley, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross

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Homeward bound and on the approach to Park Lime Pits I crossed paths with Antony, Sarah, Jayden and their beautiful little rescue Beagle, Tiley.  Tiley will  be four years old in October, and was rescued from the Dog’s Trust just three weeks ago.  She was super well behaved and was settling in perfectly as the newest member of the family.

#85 Jayden, Antony, Sarah and Tiley the Beagle

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Two minutes from home and a little out of breath from the cycle ride up the hill,  I approached a man and his dog.  It was Stacey and his dog Boris, the Weimaraner.  Boris was nine years old and had been diagnosed with epilepsy earlier in the year.  He was a beautiful boy with gorgeous big paws.  I took a couple of shots of the boys and popped my camera away in my bag.  Just as I was about to carry on with my journey, Stacey’s partner Natalie arrived – the perfect opportunity to get a shot of the whole family together.

#86 Natalie, Stacey and Boris, the Weimaraner

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Saturday 8th September.

The day may have been cold and wet,  but meeting this beautiful fellow and his human Mom on the canal brightened my day immensely – Mulder, the three-ish year old Spanish Griffon, and Max, his Veterinary Nurse Mom.  Max said that Mulder was a rescue dog and a scent hound (spot the bell around his neck).

#87 Max and Mulder, the Spanish Griffon

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Tuesday 11th September.

The evenings are most definitely drawing in as on the cycle ride home now I need my lights on – still in shorts though!  It is chilly, but losing the shorts signifies the end of summer for me and I’m not quite ready to let it go yet.  I did pass Stacey and Boris, the Weimaraner tonight and last night – not strangers anymore – we had a little chat.  Two minutes from home I met these two lovelies, Jo – just back from the gym – and her nearly nine month old Boston Terrier, Maddie.  Maddie is so bouncy and adorable, she even had a little chomp on my fingers.

#88 Jo and Maddie the Boston Terrier

#88 Jo and Maddie

Thursday 13th September.

Still sporting shorts, and a lovely chilly bright “S’Autumn” day.  Almost as soon as I join the canal I run into Lisa and Jane with their trio of gorgeous pups.  From left to right there’s Storm the seven year old female greyhound, her brother Shadow, wearing the muzzle, and Tom the 11 year old Collie cross.  Jane was holding a nearly empty bag of seed for the ducks, a woman after my own heart.  She told me that she’d started a photography project herself earlier in the year in the USA called ‘A Billion Happy Smiles’;  needless to say she hadn’t’ quite got her billion yet, quite a tall order, ‘100 Strangers and their Dogs’ was a much easier number to fulfil.

#89 Lisa, Jane, Storm and Shadow the Greyhound siblings, and Tom the Collie cross

#89 Lisa, Jane Storm, Shadow and Tom

During my return journey home from work I met another trio of beautiful dogs with their human out on their evening walk.  They were Matt, Suka the ten year old male, Mya the female of the pack at only eight years old, and Koda who was twelve.  All Siberian Huskies.  The two youngsters were Matt’s and Koda was just staying with them as a guest.  They were keen to carry on with their walk so I tried not to delay them for too long.

#90 Matt, Suka, Mya and Koda, the Siberian Huskies

#90 Matt, Suka,Mya and Koda

Friday 14th September.

It’s been 12 weeks since I began this project and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.  With just 10 strangers and their dogs to go I’m finding myself a little sad that it’s nearly over.

A cycle to work this afternoon and I met these handsome fellows, Craig and his big hairy buddy, the Irish Wolfhound Dougal.  Dougal stands at 32 inches at the shoulder, is nearly two years old, and was born in Wales.  Such a striking boy and very playful he was.  I did say to Craig that I’ve noticed that owners resemble their dogs and that in his case that was true – he said that I wasn’t the first to make this observation!

#91 Craig and Dougal, the Irish Wolfhound

#91.craig and dougal

Saturday 15th September.

A trip into Birmingham City Centre to pick up a tripod and I took my camera just in case I happened upon a stranger and their dog.  Whilst walking down New Street I met Dave and Jax.  Jax was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and was about two and a half years old.   Dave had rescued him after he had found him abandoned.  Jax was so quiet, gentle, and noble.  I shook Dave’s hand, gave Jax a love,  made a donation, and thanked them both for helping me, and went on my way.

#92 Dave and Jax, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Tuesday 18th September.

It has been so windy today I was sure I’d end up on a Yellow Brick Road in the city of Oz.  No Dorothy or Toto to be found, but I did meet little Mia, the nearly two year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and her humans, Lynne and Mark.  Our chance meeting was right next to Park Lime Pits, Mark said that they had never walked this way before.  Lynne’s Mother had very sadly, recently passed away. Mark said that Mia had been an amazing comfort to Lynne, never leaving her side, and sitting on her lap.  Dogs have the best sixth sense.  Mia loved people, this was evident by how adorable and friendly she was.

#93 Lynne, Mark and Mia, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

#93 Lynne, Mark and Mia

Wednesday 19th September, and another windy one.

Around midday I took Dad’s dog Sprocket for a windy walk in the park where I met Julie and Parker, the Miniature Schnauzer.  Parker was named after Lady Penelope’s personal manservant, chauffeur and bodyguard from the Thunderbirds television series.   They both shared the same big bushy eyebrows, although today the wind was so strong it was hard to tell.  Parker was Julie’s daughter’s dog, but Julie looked after him during the week, and her daughter had him at the weekends.  Parker was 12 years old but didn’t look it.  He was born on Christmas eve with a heart murmur.  Julie had five cats at home and said they liked to snuggle up with Parker and play with his whiskers.  He would only tolerate it for a little while and then tire of their attention.

#94 Julie and Parker, the Miniature Schnauzer

#94 Julie and Parker

Blustery walk completed and back towards my Dad’s house I went, but not before meeting my next stranger and her dogs, both of us with poo bags in hand I may add.  Melissa, Rolo the six month old Dachshund, and Larry the nine year old Harrier.  Melissa was a dog walker from “Treks & Tails” dog walking.  Larry was a rescue dog from The Dog’s Trust, he was a very beautiful sensitive boy, and loved his routine, anything different from his usual would throw him out completely.  Melissa said he was even scared of the wind.  However he was a wonderful ambassador and was used by the dogs trust as a ‘stooge’ dog – traditionally a well trained, very well rounded, non reactive live dog is used to assess the ‘threshold’ of the reactive dog that they are working with – he was Melissa’s ‘right hand man’ when meeting new dogs.  Such a calm boy with a great howl.  Rolo was very cute, happy and friendly.

#95 Melissa, Rolo the Dachshund, and Larry the Harrier

#95 Melissa Rolo and Larry

My journey home was in the car today, but I had to make a stop off at the pet shop to pick up food for my boys Obi and Dexter.  Whilst inside the Kennelgate store in Walsall Wood,  I met Sadie the Border Collie and her human, June.  June had adopted Sadie from the Border Collie rescue at Rugeley a few weeks ago.  She was a stray that had been found wandering the streets of Welshpool.  Sadie, or Cadi in Welsh, was nearly three years old.  She had beautiful eyes and a gorgeous soft coat.  At the checkout desk she had various toys and treats that she collected for herself in the shop, and she was most definitely taking them all home with her.

#96 June and Sadie, the Border Collie

#96 June and Sadie close

Saturday 22nd September, time to build an ark, rain aplenty.

Cold and wet today – still in shorts – cycling home from this morning’s teaching,  I had the pleasure of meeting Sue and her beautiful five year old Labradoodle, Tessa, out for their blustery lunchtime walk.  Sue said that Tessa had a wonderful temperament and was particularly wonderful with her Grandson who would cuddle her and say she was “My Tessa”.

#97 Sue and Tessa, the Labradoodle

#97 Sue and Tessa

Tuesday 25th September.

Bright blue skies, cool and dry, a perfect day for a cycle ride to work.

I set out on my freshly serviced de-thorned bike with plenty of time to spare. Cycling along the canal I passed the geese, my geese, now fully grown.  I gave them some seed and bid them a fond farewell for a final time this year before they fly off south for the winter.  There must have been 45 of them today, a treat indeed.  I got back on my bike and straight away met Jane and Henry, the eight year old Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier.  A soft coat he most certainly had, beautiful!  Henry had won best in his class in Crufts four times.  Jane used to be a teacher and was Walsall born and bred.  She had on a lovely dress which she had made herself out of Liberty fabric.  We had a good chat and I bid them adieu.

#98 Jane and Henry, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier#98 Jane and Henry

Monday 1st October.

Heading up towards Longwood Locks on my bike today I spied a man and his dog sitting together on the lock gate.  They looked so lovely together, I just had to ask if I could take their picture so that they would be my 99th stranger and pup of the project.  John and George, the 10 month old Sprocker, or ‘my best mate’ as John described him.  John said that he had lost his previous dog, a Collie cross Labrador, four years ago at the ripe old age of 18.  After losing his beloved friend he swore he wouldn’t ever have another dog – however this was about to change.                                                                                          John’s daughter’s Sprocker went to stay with them for a while and John was so taken with the dog that he informed his wife that they would be getting a dog of their own the following week, and it would be a Sprocker.  John is self employed and takes advantage of this by often going out for four hour walks with George, the best medicine you can get.  He said that they get home all tuckered out and within five minutes George is ready to go out again!

#99 John and George, the Sprocker Spaniel

#99 John and george 2

Wednesday 3rd October.

In the car today.  I did the school drop off first and because I missed a parcel delivery yesterday, my next journey was to the local DPD depot.  I had my camera with me, as I always do, just in case I see a stranger and their pup on my travels.  However, I wasn’t quite expecting to find them in the DPD parcel collection office!  “Rrrrrruffff, rrrruffff, rrrrrruuuuffff”, that was the greeting that I got from little Luna, the eight month old Shitzu pup.  Her human Mom, Jenny, was much quieter.  Jenny told me that she had other dogs at home but had asked permission to bring Luna to work, as she was just a pup.  Permission was granted and she was now a fully fledged member of the team or ‘The Guard Dog’, as a guy in the office described her.

#100 Jenny and Luna, the Shitzu

#100 Jenny and Luna the Shitzu

So, fourteen weeks and five days after this 100 Strangers and their Dogs project began, with a total of 142 strangers and 126 dogs, it comes to a close.  To be honest, I  feel quite emotional.  It has been a truly amazing experience and an absolute pleasure to meet so many wonderful humans and their canines – each and every one etched in my memory forever – some of which I have seen again on my daily travels and who are now no longer strangers.  To quote William Butler Yeats, “There are no strangers here, just friends that you haven’t met yet”.  He was indeed correct Sir!

If you would have asked me three months ago if I thought I could’ve done this project then my answer would have been a most definite “NO WAY!’.   But I’m so glad it has happened.  I’ve experienced so much positivity and support from friends, family, strangers and their dogs.   It has been incredible.  A massive ‘Thank You’ to each and every one.

A few quotes have rung true these last few weeks and I’ve been noting  them down as I hear them.  A quote I heard in the film Christopher Robin, was;

” Life is like a bicycle, you have to keep moving forward to keep stability”.

I do have my sad or down times,  as I guess everyone does, but taking these photos and mostly being on my bike in the great outdoors has given me so much joy.  Dogs are the most perfect creatures and meeting so many of them and having an excuse to give them a stroke or a cuddle has been just perfect.

Some other Winnie The Poohquotes which are quite apt to my journey are;

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you think”

“You can stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you, but you have to go to them sometimes.”

Another few words that really rang true are from a Rudyard Kipling poem , ‘Law of the Jungle’;

“Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”.

There is one final quote that sums up how I feel about my ‘100 Strangers and their Dogs’ project;

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” WTP

#Where it all began, Mandy, Dexter the Beagle, and Obi the Blue Merle cross Dalmatian

#101 Mandy and Boys b and W

Au revoir, Mandy xxxx