What they do best

Sometimes I jog with them in the morning. It’s an unfair challenge. Neither of them even smoke.

Extract from Along Came Dylan

Dylan can fly from the top of one dune to the top of the next without touching down. This irritates Ollie, it forces him to think, and to be strategic, activities that he does not care for. He has to work hard to kill off all the angles, in order that he can check the young pretender and keep him in his place. The fact of the matter is that ever since he passed the six-month mark, Dylan has been more than capable of outpacing the older dog, who is no slouch himself. But Ollie broke a leg when he was three, and he lost half-a-yard as a consequence of that injury. Still, Ollie sticks to his task. Once he has cut the corner enough times to deplete Dylan’s reserves of energy he exploits the situation by chasing him down. He burns him out. He is not happy until Dylan sinks to the ground panting in submission. The expression ‘blow up his lungs’ flashes through my mind more than once, but the danger of that has passed, I think. Dylan prepares for his exercise with a proper warm up – he keeps his breathing apparatus in the pink by tuning them up with all those singing exercises he insists on conducting all the way to the beach.
Once Ollie is satisfied that he has put Dylan in his place he wanders off lonely as a cloud to be supercilious and aloof.

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