Pride and Prejudice – by Rufus

Just over a week ago, I scratched an itch. Just the once. Well, maybe twice, possibly a little more. Who’s counting? Little did I know what it would lead to.

Dave spotted it and for some reason, decided I needed to go to the doctor. So with little warning (and certainly no chance to get myself looking my best) I was in the car and in the waiting room. There were lots of other dogs there, all shouting and making a fuss. I like to keep quiet and listen when I’m there. After a bit of a wait (what is the world coming to?) I was taken in to a small room with a high table. I’ve been here before and I find the best thing to do is wag my tail and look happy. Sure enough, I was plonked on the table. At least Dave couldn’t complain because when I’d weighed just before going to the room, I’d lost over a pound!

Next thing I know the vet is prodding me and poking me and squeezing me. He stared into my eyes (I stared back into his), he stuck a cold metal thing into my ears and hummed and aahhed. Then he… well, I won’t say where his finger went but I’m afraid I considered it most unnecessary – I have my pride you know! The upshot was that he found that I have environmental allergies!┬áI have long suspected that I am allergic to Dave in the same way that he is allergic to me. Clearly this was the proof I needed.

The vet gave Dave some medicines to give to me – Dave tried to keep them hidden but I saw the tablets. Tablets mean only one thing – chicken. He thinks I won’t notice if he wraps them in chicken. I play along because… well… it’s chicken. He also had some stuff for me ears and for my eye. I’ve found that with the ear and eye drops, if I make a deal out of it then Dave will make a fuss and give me a treat once he has succeeded in administering them. You may begin to understand why I like going to the vet, despite his errant fingers.

I made sure I didn’t scratch much when Dave was looking and to be honest, I did feel better. But out of the blue, today, he took me to the vet again! This time, it was a nice lady that looked at me and she was much kinder, keeping her fingers to herself. I may have behaved myself more because she was nice but I’ll never admit that to Dave. She gave me a steroid┬áinjection to help with my skin, which she said was looking good. Maybe I did stand a little straighter when she said it. So what?

When I got home, the injection had taken effect and I felt the need to bark at everything for a while. I also eyed up Dave’s weights and thought it might be a good idea to work out for a while. After all, I may go back to the vets again and I may see the nice lady vet. I want to look my best for her. I have been told a steroid injection will have this effect. But not long after, we went for a long walk on Cefn Bryn and I walked, ran and sniffed the need to visit a gym out of my system. After all, there were sheep and horses around and Dave needed me on top form to protect him from them.

I always know when Dave has a new lens for his camera, because he invariably points it at me. Today was no exception and for most of the walk I was staring into the front of a fisheye lens. Surprised I know this? Living with Dave, I know just about everything there is to know about photography. If nothing else, listening to him go on about this bit of kit or that bit of kit helps me get to sleep. When we’re preparing to go out I know I have at least 10 minutes to get ready as this is the length of time it takes him to decide which camera and lenses to take with him. I indulge him his little eccentricities as it usually means a longer walk.

Once again, I am grateful to Dave for the use of his photos. You can tell the ones taken with his new lens because they look all bendy (I believe the correct term is ‘distorted’ but bendy is a better word and it makes him scowl).

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In the interests of healthy living and a general need to remove excess body fat, I joined the gym in work. It’s a fantastic resource filled with the latest bits of equipment, housed in a recent build addition to the campus and, more importantly, it was purpose built from the beginning to be a gym, rather than converted as an afterthought.

Last week I went for the induction. It’s a health and safety requirement. After the induction, I realised why. My whistle stop tour included 7 machines that all looked the same but which had subtle differences. Each had a seat but some faced forwards, some faced back and two were sideways on. There were levers and handles and keys and buttons and displays and lights and heart rate monitors, most of which emitted a beep of some sort. The only thing I felt confident about being able to operate was the door to get in.

Last night, I had my first proper session. The instructor was very helpful and offered to create a personalised programme based on my requirements (body fat loss and preparation for the trek). In the mean time, he unleashed me onto the machines. I decided to start off slowly and build my confidence. He suggested using the step machine and I finally figured out how to make it work. I managed 1000 steps/330m ascent/15 minutes (I haven’t decided how to measure my performance yet). Then I went on to the exercise bike. How hard can an exercise be?

I couldn’t even adjust the seat. I tried all the levers I could find and then looked for ones I couldn’t see. I pulled, pushed and twisted. Then I did it again. I was conscious of all the gym professionals and how they’d pick me out as a gym virgin straight away. Eventually, the instructor saw my plight and helped me out. The secret is to jump on the seat while pulling the lever and hope the spring isn’t strong enough to launch me across the room. I managed 15 minutes/3 miles on the bike.

But, despite misgivings about gyms in the past, I enjoyed the experience and I can see myself going back on a regular basis.