YOU don’t have to walk very far around Henley before encountering one of the town’s doggy
YOU don’t have to walk very far around Henley before encountering one of the town’s doggy dwellers.
Unfortunately, these domestic dogs are not always the most well-behaved. Whether it’s chasing emus, destroying greenhouse roofs or stealing Stilton cheese, Henley’s canine citizens have a lot to answer for.
Lady McAlpine, who owns two pugs and two Labradors, including four-year-old Boris (“named after another big blonde who bumps into things but is clearly very intelligent”), has many tales to tell of their sins. One pug, called Algie, is very naughty. “He likes to try to get on to the table at the end of dinner and lunch parties. He did succeed once and began eating someone’s pudding while they were chatting to a neighbour.”
Amanda Jennings, a local author and owner of Saffie, a cross between a Siberian husky, a golden retriever and a collie, describes how she once disappeared for six hours with her sister.
“The police found them both late at night, very happy and exhausted, tongues lolling, covered head to paw in mud and grins on their faces, on the main road that runs from Henley to Shiplake.”
So why would anyone want one of these incredibly naughty creatures for pets?
If you’ve ever had one of those particularly eventless days where you just go on Twitter or Facebook or watch the football on TV, perhaps it’s time for a little exercise.
Dogs force you into the fresh outdoors to stretch your legs and enjoy the pleasant Henley Â countryside.
Carly Griffin, from Henley pub the Bird In Hand, got her black Labrador Pedro because she enjoys walking. “He keeps us very busy and fit.”
There’s also companionship. Your furry friends constantly stay by your side every step of the way.
Amanda Jennings says: “Saffie is awesome company for me and spends the day lying under my desk while I write.”
Pedro, in particular, is a special dog for Carly. “We don’t have children so Pedro has filled a space in our lives where we can love and nurture him.”
Finally, your dog makes your home mean something. Lady McAlpine believes: “A home without a dog is merely a ‘house’, not a ‘home’.”
Laura Reineke, who is in charge of Henley Music School, agrees, even though she thinks her rescue dog Ruby is quite smelly!
“We like that she is part of the furniture â€” she is always there when we get home.”
Annie-T Simons, who runs the CountryWives blog and is a volunteer at the Kenton Theatre, says: “I have always had dogs so a house without them seems strange and empty to me.”
Even when dogs are naughty, their crime can still be worth it. Annie-T’s old spaniel Fudge once stole a child’s birthday cake. “It was very sad for the child, however we did laugh as he ate it all, including the candles!”
* On May 22, Lady McAlpine is hoping to break the Guinness World Record for the number of Labradors gathered in one place at her annual Fawley Hill Steam and Vintage Fair.
A special report by Natasha Clark Lam, 12, a pupil at Queen Anne’s School, Caversham. She has a Labrador called Pickle, whom she loves very much