Living near the sea, walking along the coast has become one of my favourite pastimes.About 11 years ago, My wife Mary and I built a house at Brighton, about 800 metres from the beach. Mary died seven years ago, so I live with just my lovable companion Snowy who is a small, white Maltese cross. He was nearly two when I moved to Brighton, and he has accompanied me on most of my walks in this area.
Walking is my main method of keeping myself fit and active. Having had a few health issues involving surgery in recent times, I have found I recover quickly from surgery, and both my doctors and I have expressed the view that my recovery was aided by good health and fitness.
Like all dogs, Snowy loves to go for a walk, so when it is appropriate, I take him on my walks, thus he is a long distance walker for his size, or more precisely, a long distanced trotter. “This walking that Snowy and I do is good for him and good for me” I often say, and Snowy will look at me with his big brown eyes and say “ yes Dad, I think so too”. In fact , Snowy is a good incentive for me to keep walking for pleasure and fitness. When Snowy passes on, I will have to discipline myself to keep up the walking.
Snowy is a plucky little fellow. He likes other little white dogs, so when he and these other small dogs meet on the beach, it is easy to imagine the tail-wagging and sniffing that goes on. However, his pluckiness comes into play when he is confronted by big dogs, particularly boisterous black ones that choose to bother him.”No nonsense from you, Mate” says Snowy. Following a few snarls and a rapid advance from Snowy, they retreat gracefully. Incidents such as these put a smile on not only my face, but also on the amused faces of the owner of the other dog, and passers-by who have watched the goings on of my little whipper-snapper of a dog.
My little walking companion has some other hates when walking with me on street footpaths or the promenade at the beach. It’s children or teenagers on skateboards and scooters that he hates, and its the noise they make on the paving that send him crazy.
On Saturday and Sunday mornings when the weather is kind, there are always large numbers of people and dogs along the stretch pf coast that Snowy and I frequent, thus adding further interest to the walks. Near to where the beach ends, there are three things of interest apart from a boat ramp, a sailing club, a caravan park and a surf lifesaving club.
The first point of interest is a pair of Norfolk Island Pines planted in the late 19th century b y George Strickland Kingston, one of South Australia’s founding fathers and his two sons. Second is a spring used by the indigenous people before white settlement, and the third is a coffee shop, a nice stopping point for Snowy and me for a rest and a good cup of coffee during or after a walk.
“We’ve been here before – the lady here always give customer’s dogs a treat“ said Snowy one day, and sure enough, the lady obliged. “It’s about time we had a rest. Dad. Sometimes you forget about my little legs, and how tired I get” Snowy continued.“Yes, Snowy, I too need to rest more at my age” I said to him.
Beyond the Southern end of the beach, a clifftop walking track continues for some distance, thus adding another dimension to coastal walking. As I walk along this track, Snowy trots along behind me, frequently stopping to sniff something or cock his leg.
I have done a lot of solo walking, but these days, I enjoy the company of my bright little white dog. As I write this story, Snowy snoozes on his cushion under my desk, waiting for my next move, whether it be to the kitchen, or to put on my walking shoes.