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As I felt the Yeti like paw prints that had been imprinted in the freshly laid compost, I knew that the monster had struck again. Amongst the rows of carrots and spring onions, lay the evidence of the hairy intruder’s occupancy. It then twigged on me that I had witnessed this mystical creature rampage earlier on in the day as he ran around the garden in circles creating an obstacle course out of whatever he could find. The planter included. The rampage had happened when I tried to take ownership back of my bra that had fallen from the laundry basket as I was hanging washing out. As the cups flapped about as much as his ears as he ran at record speed, I knew that I was losing the battle. I heard his speedy paw steps cover the whole of the garden but the breaks in the noisy paw steps clearly meant that they were in the compost. Attempting to catch playful Munch would have been impossible even if I could see.

Munch only has two modes. Munch transforms into professional Minster as soon as his harness slips over his head and he become the proficient Guide Dog that every advert conveys. His nonchalant demeanour, passes distractions in an aloof way for most of the time. With the shaking of his body when the harness comes off, Minster becomes a distant memory as he becomes playful Munch. You would never guess that he is the same dog. There are times however that the two modes cross over into pre and post harness wearing. The aloof Minster mode that invades his off – duty Munch time is amusing yet trouble free. It is a shame that the same in not true for the reverse.

Play to Munch is as essential as oxygen. Unless he is causing mischief in his own unique way, his inner monster gets starved. As I hear him run off with one of my granddaughter’s plastic toys, I know he wants a chase. When the little monster comes right up to my face for me to see that he has a sock in his mouth, he knows that this soft touch will spend the next 10 minutes begging him to release the slobbery sock and then taking his lead to play whatever he wants in exchange the release of the captured clothing. Bowing to Angus the cat as an invite to play, he will then spend an age cowering after Angus chases him into a corner. Regardless if it a living being or a stray carrier bag, Munch will adore his now found play pal. He is really not fussy.

Problems only arise when working Minster becomes possessed by Munch. Whilst out walking the other day, we came across a field of cows that he thought would make great new play pals. My gentle explaining that he could not play, was met with disappointment. As stubbornness replaced the disappointment I knew that steering him away from these friendly souls was going to be challenging. Not even a treat tempted him away. As he staged a sit in protest, more cows gathered around to support this worthwhile cause. As we reached a compromise and went closer to the fence to greet his new friends, he sniffed away with a wagging tail and love filled heart. After a little while, I felt terrible leading him away from his new besties, but I promised him we would come back soon. As the mooing replied to his whines as the distance grew between them, they bid farewell. He may not have had a chance to play with them but at least he had a chance to connect which he loves to do so much. Whether connecting with a human or a four-legged soul mate, the thought of play keeps Minster Munch a happy chappy with a contented soul. His work/ life balance will always be a battle for this strong-minded soul but isn’t that true for us all?

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