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I have a hound dog who is an incarnation of Houdini.

I thought way back that she was related to Marley – the dog in the beautiful movie Marley and Me (have you seen it? A must see if you have not).

Marley is the most untrainable dog in the world, full of spirit but excessively naughty. And I thought that my dog was one of these Marley characters, but she isn’t, she is actually rather clever and has learned simple tricks like sitting for her food and coming when I call her into the house from the garden. But once she decides that she needs to go for a run outside my property, no matter what measures I have taken to enclose the land properly, she finds a way to escape and goes for a mad run through the neighbourhood.

She is a welfare dog – a mixed breed of many unidentifiable dogs, but I suspect too that she has a wee bit of cat in her too. She can climb trees and fences like felines do and then laughs at the others in her pack of four for their inability to follow suit – except for one – he is part sheep; not in look but definitely in behaviour. She shows him how and where to and for how long and he simply goes, ‘okay, i follow, you lead.’

And so when she is out and about she makes us run, build up a sweat, curse, spit and feel exasperated. There are times in the back and forth run after her, where calling her to come falls on her deliberately deaf ears, when we say: ‘Bugger it. She must go then, let her run.’ But still, although fuming, we don’t move with much conviction toward the house again, and as a car approaches we find ourselves leaping into the road, waving at the car to slow the hell down, petrified that she will get knocked over…for that would be too devastating to bare… and so the game continues, sometimes for almost an hour.

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She always comes back eventually, but I have to ask myself a few questions. The more we call the more of a game she thinks it is. The more we go after her, the more she runs further – tail wagging and with a big smile.

…okay…she is my spirit dog…she is my reflection, so I need to ask myself – why is she needing long, playful, undisciplined runs?

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