There are many moments in the life of every family that deserve recording for posterity.
Like the day my daughters each smiled for the first time, tasted their first ‘real’ food and took their first steps.
I can still clearly remember the day Big Girl finally realised that there was a better way to get around than simply shuffling on her bottom. Hers was not a single first step but the first of many steps, as she tottered her way from room to room with a huge grin on her face.
Today was Monty’s turn, as he reached his milestone 11 weeks (and a week after his second vaccination) and was allowed to go out for a walk for the very first time!
I had blithely assumed that this would be no big deal. That he would sit happily while we fitted his harness and lead, before trotting merrily by my side.
Going for a walk comes perfectly naturally to a dog, right?
Mr B and Big Girl weren’t quite so optimistic and had already spent many a happy minute or two trying to teach Monty the notion of ‘heel’, before he invariably disappeared off to explore something more interesting than the smell of their shoe leather.
After a minor false start, when we realised the extra small harness we had bought for Monty was in fact extra large on our little fluffball, Big Girl and I headed to the park for the Big Event.
Despite a rather damp beginning to the day, it was already busy with dogs big and not quite so big, running off their breakfasts, giving their owners a free workout and getting to know each other in the way only dogs do (which soon had Monty hiding behind Big Girl’s legs like a shy toddler).
His new harness fitted perfectly and after a few brief wriggles, Monty paid little attention to it, or indeed to his smart red lead.
I can’t say he managed the ‘heel’ thing exactly, but let’s just say we all got from A to B in one piece. Eventually.
(A walk in the park holds many and varied fascinations for a puppy who has only just discovered there is life beyond the back garden).
And ten years on from her own first steps, Big Girl demonstrated that she is a natural when it comes to handling L-plated walkers of the four-legged kind.
After padding around for pretty much as long as his little legs would carry him, Big Girl and I treated ourselves to a brief coffee stop, while Monty continued to eye up his fellow canines with barely disguised suspicion. Well, some of them were at least ten times his size!
Meanwhile, we chatted to their owners who were fascinated by our newbie and wanted to know more about the unfamiliar Coton de Tulear breed.
So what did Monty learn today? Undoubtedly, that there is a big wide world out there just waiting for him to explore.
And us? That if you take a little white puppy for a walk in the park on a soggy day, you won’t recognise him by the end of it.
And that you MUST remember a towel! (Well, the car did need a clean…)