The dog pack springs apart at the field entrance, scatters out in separate paths, fascinated by smells of ground and air.
Claire watches Flooper follow Brasso. He is starting to get braver, even runs to chase a scent by himself; briefly, but this is how it starts, how they rehabilitate, how suddenly things can change, just that littlest shift of attitude.
‘Woff!’ Echo waves.
‘Walk?’ Claire lowers the little chatterbox. They hold hands, and the child stands close as Lady returns, licks Echo’s hair, trots off.
‘Woff, woff, woff!’ Echo squeezes her eyes shut, shakes her head, smiles back at Claire. Hand in hand they follow the dogs, and the dogs follow the stories of scent that they can read from wind or earth. They know everything that has passed. The afternoon sun eases down, makes bold tree shapes, shapes that move and shift, animate the field stories.
Dimsum is the first to squat. Claire pulls a poo-bag from her back pocket.
‘Foo-ey!’ She says to Echo.
‘Foo,’ Echo agrees.
They make several trips to the stinking dustbin by the field gate.
‘Just part of life my dear,’ Claire explains; ‘dealing with the poo.’