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Pals in the Park: Geoff & Tilly

 
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One of my favourite things about being a dog owner is how people are brought together organically. You naturally stop and chat with people in the community, something that’s a bit of a rarity in today’s iPhone driven world.

This is Geoff - and our dogs met in the park one day. We got chatting and now I bump into him and Tilly nearly everyday. While the dogs play, I get to hear all of his stories

 
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Being such an eccentric looking guy (with a hat collection I can only imagine) I plucked up the courage to ask Geoff if I could photograph him and Tilly. He accepted and we decided on a date and time. When I asked him if he wanted me to write it down so he didn't forget, he replied saying no, followed by a repetition of my name, the time and his surroundings.

"That's how I remember things you see, by making up a little limerick. See you Tuesday."

And as good as his word, he was there. Tuesday, 11am.

Every time I see Geoff, he tells me proudly about Tilly's breed (Saluki), going into detail about her Persian heritage; how they're the most ancient breed, how they can survive in the dessert plains and their instinct to run. Alan chases Tilly and tries desperately to catch her. No chance. My favourite fact from Geoff is that apparently dogs aren't supposed to eat vegetables, so instead, they scavenge their nutrients from the stomachs of the rabbits they catch -

"then the green stuff's already been digested for them." 

Geoff's a proper Yorkshireman with a fondness for Native American Culture. I ask where these interests came from, to which he replies,

"I dunno, I'm just fascinated by it."

He proceeds to show me all 3 of his authentic headdresses on his dinky little camera phone - each a masterpiece with feathers trailing to the floor - one yellow, one black, one red. Then he finds pictures of his past pets, telling me about each of their temperaments and personalities.

 
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Tilly's seven now - she's a powerful old girl. Sometimes I worry that she's a bit of a handful for Geoff. I've seen him wrapped up in her lead, almost like a scene out of Scooby-Doo. But Geoff doesn't bat an eye lid. He barks his demands at her and she responds instantly. I guess they just get each other. And despite Geoff's hip replacement and the fact that he can't always see right across the park - he's still out twice a day, catching up with the park regulars and telling them fondly about what he's been up to and no doubt the traits and characterisitcs of the Saluki breed. He's given me and "little'un" a new name - 'A+E' (Alan & Emily) - I can tell he's really chuffed with it.

If you would like some photographs in your local park get in touch to arrange a mini session. Discounts available. emily@petstories.co.uk.