Sunday evening and the fire’s on. We’re just back from a beautiful, icy beach walk. Selkie’s had her dinner, licked her whiskers clean and curled up in a wee ball on her bed, paws paddling, dreamies on. There’s a cup of hot tea on the desk, HQ is quiet and peaceful, and I’m looking back at a list of appointments from the 2018 diary.
It’s been another eventful year for Highland Dogblog, and while I wasn’t always quite sure which parts of the ship were going to make it through the storms, I knew the core was solid and we would emerge. And we have, different, but sound. And most important of all: still madly, passionately, ridiculously in love with dogs; keeping it woof and being good to the wurrld!
2018 saw us saying goodbye to two of our big projects: Selkie’s Seconds and Barker’s Bothy. Selks and I are super proud of both projects and all they achieved, as well as grateful to everyone who worked together to make them what they were.
There were more changes facing us when we reined in the HDB hosted pack walks. These had unfortunately become a victim of their own success, and despite trying out a few different options, I felt that we weren’t able to manage them properly and it would be better to let them come to a natural end. Again, we are happy to have had hundreds of walks with paw pals from all over the Highlands and Islands, proud of what we achieved together all of us and glad to know there are still pockets of friends who met through HDB still out walking together.
On the upside we held onto Scentral Park and all that it enables us to do. The project has gone from strength to strength and continues to be supported by HDB volunteers who give up their personal time to keep this special place on the go. It’s almost three years now since Mr Mohamed gave us permission to use his land and we are very much in his debt.
Following on from lots of community litter picks over the years we went on to introduce a new project in January called My Walk, My Bag! which has enabled us to play a much more active and ongoing role, together with millions of people across the world, facing up to the challenges of plastic and other waste clogging up our environment. Dog walkers have a unique niche that we are able to cover, and it’s been a joy seeing folks coming together under the HDB flag to tackle local environmental problems. The fact that this campaign is now celebrating a whole year’s worth of effort, month after month, whatever the weather, chipping away, one bag at a time, speaks volumes about you, your dogs and your commitment to keeping things woof. Oan yersels!
We did end 2018 without our usual Christmas Party in the forest but there was just no way our wee “Dingwall family” could take that on having lost our big man Riley at the beginning of the month. He was so much a part of everything at HDB and we are feeling his loss keenly. Thank you for understanding, and for supporting Dianne in what I hope will become a happy, new tradition of “Coffee & Chats” at the park.
I’d also like to say thank you to the Board of HDB who quietly support the whirlwind that is HDB. I so appreciate their counsel, and their unwavering support no matter how many times Selkie and I change direction and charge off on new quests.
And speaking of herself … well, my “wee” Selkie Seal turned seven this year and is, I’m happy to say, as mischievous as ever. Keeping up with her adventures and her wild Highland spirit is a full-time job for The Mummy. She has absolutely loved, loved, loved moving to her new “house by the sea” and having her own wee garden. We have been in our new village for about six months now and have met some wonderful doggie pals and kind people. Selkie says we are two “verra lucky souls” and I agree with her 100 per cent on that one. We are also both very grateful for all your messages and support during those times she was “vet ridden” and on her “fishing line” for different reasons during the year. You cheered us up no end – thank you.
Pals, Selks & HDB are not really ones for new year’s resolutions. Selkie says it’s better to “look it back” over the year that was and say thank you for all the blessings and incredible people we have been able to share the year with. She also says that it’s good to “try and learn it some lessons” from stuff if you can, but not to stress about the past. Much more important, she tells me, is that once you’ve “done it your thank yous, counted it your blessings and learned it your lessons” is that it’s time to “turn back around, get your tail up, put your nose in the air and face whatever the new year has in store”.
“We gots to take it things as they come, one day at a time, do it the best we can, with ower pals, and that’s all, and that’s enough” Selkie Seal.
And on that note then thank you all for being our pals, for answering “the call” to all the crazy ideas we have foisted upon you during the year, for picking up the balls we’ve dropped and manning the fort when we couldn’t – I think we can say goodbye to 2018 knowing that together we kept it woof, big time. How about we do it ALL AGAIN in 2019?
Lots of love to you and your families, and a special thought to everyone who has lots their precious ones during the year.
Lauren & Selkie x
p.s. Rufty Tufty forever!