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Ted is 11 months old today! We celebrated by him getting extremely wet and muddy on this morning’s walk where I was soaked straight through to my pants (why do I never think to put my waterproof trousers on?).

One of the things that I wanted this post to be about was what I have learnt during the time that Ted has owned me.  I am, by my own admission, a bit of a hippie, I think I lost sight of that for a while, sucked in by marketing and advertising and a life that had gotten out of control, into trying to spend my way to happiness. It doesn’t work, or it didn’t for me, the buzz from the purchase lasts seconds, minutes at best and the happiness said purchase brings fades quickly too.

Having had to reappraise things, slow down and quit the obsessive shopping I found myself reminded of things that do make me happy, things that are by and large free!  Fresh air, country side, nature, making time to chat to people and understand them. Wait I hear you say, this has b*gger all to do with Ted!

But it does, having Ted and walking him twice a day every day has been a massive reinforcer of all this.  Early morning walks, just me and him are calm and peaceful, whilst he’s sniffing something disgusting I am taking in the slowly changing seasons or noticing that the baby birds are starting to appear.

And I’m meeting people I otherwise wouldn’t, and even better lots more dogs than if he wasn’t with me.  Yesterday, quite by chance, we had a little mini dog meeting, two black pomeranian girls, a long haired chihuahua boy and a white bolognese girl, and Ted of course.  I’ve met a couple of them before, all 5 dogs were calm around each other (although naturally the girls were keeping a close on the boys to keep them in line), they were all sniffing about, interacting calmly with each other. I’m not obsessed with little dogs but it is nice to see him with dogs his own size. Even better all these dogs are walked twice a day every day, one of the owners (not me for once!) bought up the importance of little dogs being walked and how angry they get when they heard people saying you don’t need to walk them.

Of course, Ted has some stuff, here he is amongst some of it.

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But he’s as excited about being given an empty cardboard box to rip up as he is about getting a shop bought dog toy.  He’s like a womble, he makes good use of the rubbish we find lying around. This morning we played a ten minute game involving a chewed up rubber ball, a destroyed tennis ball and a tissue, all of which were lying around in the area we were walking in. He had as much fun doing that as he did chasing his actual mini tennis ball that I had with me.  Then mean, evil mum that I am I binned two of the 3 and left the partially chewed ball for the next dog to find.

But the killer for me is the total happiness I feel seeing him burst with joy at just being where he is, on the beach, in a field, when the wind blows, so many things can make him get that extra spring in his step and I don’t think a single one of them has required me to shell out cash. Here he is demonstrating this admirably a few days ago with a field of long(ish) grass and a dried up leaf, look out for a minor face plant about 20 seconds in.

Ted says you might be able to buy happiness but you don’t need to and often it ain’t as good as just getting out and doing something you enjoy.

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