Meeting the 1st East Doncaster Cubs

When our friend and neighbour Mr G asked if we would be guest speakers for the 1st East Donny cubs, there was no way we were going to say no! A dog friendly outing to demonstrate J's favourite sport? There with bells on!!
But when the night rolled around, it was more like there with raincoats on. It was bucketing! Nonetheless, we packed up the three boys and the gear, gave Ishka a pig's ear and headed out. We knew the park where we were going to meet the cubs had big BBQ shelters and Mr G reassured us that the cubs don't cancel activities for things like rain - they just put on their raincoats and get on with it! Exactly the attitude needed for winter sports.
The cubs walked down to the park from their scout hall, getting to practice road safety on the way, and when we arrived, there were lots of torches bobbing around and glimpses of uniforms and beanies. Their leaders kept them occupied with an investiture of a new cub while we set up, with some help from Master G and his folks. Then they came down the hill to our BBQ shelter and gathered around. We'd strung a stake out line down the middle of the BBQ shelter, with Frankie at the end, and we quickly collected a mass of kids around him. Their leaders had fortunately briefed the cubs that they weren't allowed to pat without permission and although all the kids were really excited, they followed their brief to a tee. Of course, Frankie immediately started rubbing up against knees to beg for pats, and when I gave the go ahead he had about six devoted admirers keen to give him what he wanted.
Mr G put on his GL voice and introduced us, and then put his lighting rigging skills to work keeping a torch on my face but not in my eyes. I asked the kids about their dogs at home and immediately got hands up, taking turns speaking, beautiful manners that warmed my school marm's heart. Most of the kids had Maltese or Shitzu crosses, like me before J. I asked about what breed our dogs were; they all knew "husky" and a couple of people knew "Siberian". We talked about the weather in Siberia and how dogs like Frankie were built to cope with the cold. We talked about meeting dogs and reading doggy body language - by this point, Frankie was getting a bit overexcited and making some whining noises, so I declared a time out and brought him closer to me. We talked about the need for harnesses and we put Frankie's harness on. Then we got all three boys hitched up, before Jamie headed out for a quick demo run.
The whole time I'd been talking, the rain had only intensified, and we'd even been treated to some sheet lightning, so it was really really wet out there. The boys were a little confused by the crowd, and Bolo tried his best to drag the team over for his own pats. But J got them onto the path and they slipped and slid out and around a short loop. We watched from our vantage point as they flew along the creek side path, and waited excitedly for their return. Just a short loop - 1.1km - but not without excitement - bunting in unexpected places, slippery paths, excited dogs.... Fortunately they got back safe and sound.
We all lined up for a group photo - between small fry and dogs (they were a little puzzled about the idea of shouting "CHEESE" and kept looking back at the cubs) it was tricky to get so many people all looking at the camera together. Then it was time for general pats on the stake out lines, before parents started to arrive. The pack thanked us with a Grand Howl/Woof and Akela invited people to say individual thanks, which they did with the unembarrassed passion of primary schoolers. (Hmmm, could I do that full time?)
And of course, once all the kids had been collected/walked back to the hall, and we were done packing up, the rain stopped. Trust!

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