I have written before about the amount of mud we have to endure on our dog walks. Following the frequent heavy rain we get in Beetley, the mud persists until it is either frozen by a long period of extreme cold, or finally dries out sometime in late May or June.
I have become an expert on mud. I used to think there was just ‘Mud’, but there are a great many varieties.
There is the obvious churned-up ‘surface’ mud. You look ahead of you, and can see a muddy area. If it cannot be avoided, you squelch through it with a depth of just a couple of inches appearing on your boots.
Then there is the ‘slick’ mud. It looks black and oily at first glance, and is rarely deep. That’s because it is sitting on firmer ground, and hasn’t sunk in. Close to the riverbank, this type of mud can often be left behind after local flooding. Walk on that at your peril, as it is as slippery as an ice-skating rink.
The other one best avoided is the ‘boggy’ mud. What might just seem like very wet grass can conceal mud up to three feet deep. That can not only get over the top of your boots and inside them, but also deliver enough suction to pull the boot off completely as you try to extricate it from the quicksand-like grip.
Despite all this, Ollie returns from our walks relatively clean. I have to wipe his paws on one of his dog towels, and clean off some splashes under his belly. Given that we have just spent almost two hours trudging through all the types of mud listed above, you would imagine that my dog would be caked in it up to his hips.
There are two reasons why Ollie can avoid the worst. For one thing, his relatively low weight stops him sinking in too deep. At 28 kilogrammes, (Just over 60 pounds) he is able to distribute that weight over all four legs instead of two.
And there is the way he walks. Best described as ‘prancing’, he does the whole dog walk on the eqivalent of his tiptoes, adding a bounce effect from his strong leg muscles that prevents him from sinking in too deep.
Unlike me, Ollie seems to have been perfectly designed for mud.