It’s all right he won’t bite …

It’s all right he won’t bite … I wish I had a tenner every time I heard that lie !

This is a departure from my normal country walking blog posts and a bit of a mini-rant if I’m honest, at what I consider to be one of the biggest lies (after “the cheque’s in the post” and “Your government really cares about what you think”). You’ve maybe guessed what it’s about already but after another “incident” last week-end I’ve just gotta get this off of my chest. Sorry if you disagree, but I’ve a right to say this …. well actually I’m not really sorry otherwise I wouldn’t say it !

The background :-

I was just packing up a set of stumps and bales after a little bit of cricket practice with my eleven-year old son on one of the open grassy areas around our estate.


The initial situation :-

A sizeable boxer dog comes running at speed across the field, barking and growling and jumping back and forth near to my son. This genuinely scares my son (why wouldn’it !!!). The owner is completely out of sight. I shout at my son to stay still and shout NO, SIT, SIT DOWN, at the dog. This has the immediate effect of distracting the mutt. It doesn’t sit, but at least stops jumping around at least long enough for me to be close enough for me to feel I might be able to protect my lad. I know my adrenaline levels have kicked in; My heart is beating faster, I’m feeling aggressive towards the “aggressor”, I get between dog and son, I feel prepared (if necessary) to use cricket bat that just happens to be in my hand. The above has maybe taken all of 30 seconds to occur.


The situation develops :-

The owner comes into sight, a woman as it happens, quite some distance away and shouts to the dog. Dog thinks about returning but ignores the call and starts bounding about again. My son shies away behind me … I again shout at the dog – I’m not going to show any weakness!!! (Adrenaline fight or flight response I guess). Woman calls again, dog ignores her … eventually she arrives and says those common but wholly stupid and inappropriate words “IT’S ALL RIGHT HE / SHE / IT WON’T BITE”.


Anger is moved from dog to owner :-

What a stupid thing to say …. She doesn’t know about my son ! … My son doesn’t know the dog ! … We didn’t run and shout at the dog, it ran and barked at my son ! … She goes on to explain that “IT’S ONLY A PUPPY” …. So what !, it’s half the size of my son – It’s got sharp teeth !, it’s a domesticated wolf for God’s sake – It’s not under control (not on a lead, ignores owners instructions) therefore it’s out of control.


A bit of background :-

When my son was a toddler, a dirty big “so called friendly, playful” dog twice his height jumped up on his shoulders and scared the living day-lights out of him. This was another not-under-control animal who’s owner said those classic words “IT’S ALL RIGHT HE / SHE / IT WON’T BITE”.  … My son has never liked/trusted dogs since.


A bit more background :-

When I was a lad (probably a little younger than eleven, but not much), I was carrying a football home (I was alone) after playing with mates down our local field (kind of similar scenario eh ?) and a Jack Russell dog decided it wanted my ball – it barked and snarled and bounced around me – I was scared (who wouldn’t be ?) – The owner (as it happens another woman) said those exact same words “IT’S ALL RIGHT HE / SHE / IT WON’T BITE” … only thing was, the dog didn’t understand the words and promptly sank it’s teeth into my leg !!!!! …. I needed a trip to the doc’s and tetanus jab …. I STILL DON’T LIKE/TRUST DOGS ON THE LOOSE IN PUBLIC PLACES … why would I ?


The Situation becomes surreal – Apparently it’s my fault :-

The woman says, and I still can’t believe she said this, but she did … she said that my son ought to be exposed to more dogs so he can get used to them! … So she is, in effect, saying that her dog “attacking” us, cause that is pretty much what it felt like, is errmmm MY fault !!! UNBELIEVABLE … and she also says that the animal is good around children ‘cause she’s got a bunch of children in her family set-up. Again SO WHAT ! … if she chooses to allow the animal around her family that’s her choice, but why should her life choices be imposed on MY family ? – NO REASON AT-ALL that’s what … ABSOLUTELY NO REASON AT-ALL WHY HER DOG SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BE OUT OF CONTROL, DISOBEDIENT AND SCARING MY SON and causing me to become angry and upset (and late for dinner come to that!).


In summary :-

Now they say there are no bad dogs, just bad owners …. I’ll let you decide if I’m over-reacting and I’ll let you decide if the boxer dog had been sufficiently trained by its owner(s) and obedient enough to be let off a lead in public; Maybe you are a dog lover, and think they can do no wrong, but please, PLEEEASE, just remember that we (and by we, I mean the general public) don’t all like dogs, some of us can just about tolerate them, some of us dislike them and actively try to avoid them, and some of us in this world are genuinely frightened of Man’s so called “best friend”.


And finally :-

Going back to allowing the dog around her family – Just Google “Family dog attacks ….” or similar such headlines … It really isn’t that uncommon – Dogs are unpredictable and can be dangerous – They are NOT human beings with four legs and a tail, don’t treat them as such, threat them right but treat them and train them as a modified wolf !!! and don’t assume that because your dog isn’t a fighting Bull Terrier or similar that it’s incapable of causing serious harm – Physically and / or emotionally / psychologically.

Just try these headlines for size, and then tell me I’m just being totally paranoid :-

  • Boy, 2, has emergency surgery after savage attack by family dog
  • 5 year old savaged in dog attack
  • Family raising £6,000 for a prosthetic leg for daughter after dog attack
  • Dog attack left boy needing 100 stitches
  • Toddler savaged as she played in park

There, got it off my chest, rant over, next post hopefully back to a nice gentle country walk, with hopefully no dog stories to relate !!!!



20130512 + 20130519_Two Spring Walks In Cawston Bluebell Woods

20130512 + 20130519_Two Spring Walks In Cawston Bluebell Woods

20130519-01_Welcome to Cawston by gary.haddenWhen : 12th May (afternoon) and 19th May (early morning) 2013.

Where : Fox Covert/Cawston Spinney … Bluebell woods, off Cawston Lane, to the south of Rugby.

Map : 1:25,000 OS. Explorer Map 222, Rugby & Daventry. Map Reference : SP 473,727

Distance : Approx 2.5 miles (4 km) and about 2.8 miles (4.5 km)

Significant heights : None20130519-05_Cawston - Looking to Lime Tree Avenue by gary.hadden

I’ve decided this diary post is to combine a couple of wanders down to Cawston woods from our home on the Cawston Grange Estate. The housing estate abuts up to mixed farmland which is slowly being gobbled up by the expanding suburbs of Rugby Town, but right now I feel very fortunate to be able to leave my front door (in one of those new suburbs) and within a couple of minutes be in rural leafy Warwickshire and within five to ten minutes I can be in Cawston Woods.

—- …. — … — …— …. —-

20130512_Cawston Woods Circular Walk      20130519_A photographic walk in Cawston (Rugby) and Cawston bluebell woods

20130519-06_Cawston - Last of the Daffs by gary.hadden    20130519-07_Cawston - Rustic Fence by gary.hadden

20130512-02_Public Footpath passing Cawston Farm - Rugby Warwickshire by gary.hadden   20130512-05_Path through Bluebells_Cawston Woods by gary.hadden

20130519-08_Cawston Bluebell Woods-Shafts of Sunlight by gary.haddenThe woods are special any time of year, partly because there are not a huge number of woods in the area; but they are especially pretty in the spring when the trees are bursting forth with their first leaves of the year, allowing a soft light to percolate through to the ground highlighting the carpet of bluebells. In fact the early morning sunshine on the 19th was really attractive breaking through in shafts, highlighting the bluebells and forming strongly contrasting shadows through the trees – Superb – well worth the effort to leave the house before anyone else was up! Some years the display of bluebells can be in April, other years, like this year it can be as late as Mid May. Also in some years it seems like the bulbous plants take a bit of a rest and don’t throw up so many blooms and can be quite sparsely distributed throughout the woods. In other years however they can be much more densely packed and this year just happened to be really quite stunning.

20130519-10_Cawston Bluebell Woods by gary.hadden

20130512-07_Cawston Bluebell Woods by gary.hadden

20130512-08_Cawston Bluebell Woods by gary.hadden

20130519-16_Cawston Bluebell Woods by gary.hadden  20130519-15_Cawston Bluebell Woods by gary.hadden

Apart from the woods themselves, the environs of Cawston are also quite attractive, there are footpaths around the perimeter of the estate and open fields which become covered with dandelion flowers and then soon after, thousands of seed heads; up close these are very pretty especially with a misting of morning dew – but a right pain in the garden where they seem to constantly land and seed themselves … a never ending battle and proof if it was ever needed that a weed is only a plant that is growing where it’s not wanted.

20130512-12_Cawston Grange - Perimeter Path - Bridleway by gary.hadden   20130519-04_Dandelion Seed Head by gary.hadden

Anyway, that’s probably enough words for now, just to add that even local places have there beauty, just don’t lose sight of that in the passing of everyday life and familiarity of where you live … I guess it’s something we’re all guilty of to a lesser or greater degree.

20130519-03_Dandelion Seed Head by gary.hadden

20130519-18_Cawston -Rugby - Warwickshire by gary.hadden   20130519-19_Rustic Fence - Cawston by gary.hadden

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and my pic’s …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my photo’s, please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

Oh, and finally, if you click on a photo’ it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream …. and there are a bunch more pic’s of the woods / bluebells / Cawston in my photostream / sets of images if you want to go see.

T.T.F.N. Gary.