Sunday Morning Open Thread: Cabbage Is Home!

Absolutely random dog / internet happiness story, because why not:

On Friday, our family suffered a terrible shock – our beloved collie cross Cabbage was stolen along with five other dogs when someone drove off in our dog walker’s van.

Now, I know a story about a lost dog might seem a bit tangential to the purpose of this newsletter but bear with me. My book Always On is about the radical changes to our lives brought about by the smartphone and powerful social networks – and both played a part in the happy ending to the story of the stolen dogs.

On Friday morning I was at the home of a distinguished director from the golden age of TV drama, interviewing him for a future project, when my phone rang. It was my wife telling me that she had just been called by our dog walker with some shocking news. After collecting Cabbage and five other dogs he had stopped off near the park at a relative’s house to see if they wanted to go on the walk – but had left his van’s engine running with the key in the ignition. He turned round to see it disappearing into the distance.

I cut short my interview and rushed out to drive home. Then I stopped – and realised that time was of the essence and I must first sound the alert. So I did what I’ve done for the last 14 years and composed a tweet…

People warned us against getting a collie – too energetic, too skittish, needing three walks a day, “she’ll wear you out.” Not having been brought up with dogs, I too was a little apprehensive but it was not long before Cabbage became a much loved member of the family.

Her energy turned out to be a spur to me to fight the middle-aged flab – I went running with her on a three mile route around a nearby park at least a couple of times a week. For years, she was hard to keep up with and there were scary moments – once on a dark evening, she was spooked by a firework and shot out of the park and across a busy road.

But over the years we have both slowed down. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s nearly three years ago, I have given up running and amble around the park. Cabbage, whose eyesight and hearing have both faded, sets an even more stately pace and sometimes looks askance at me as if to say “really – you want to go further?”

But in March 2020 as the pandemic arrived and we went into the first lockdown my early morning walk with the dog – my only permitted exercise – became a highlight of my day. I decided that each morning I would take a picture and post it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter…

(via James Palmer‘s twitter feed)

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