Finally, and to the absolute pleasure of all the children, that day arrived last week!
Archie greeted the children as they arrived in the morning. Most of the children were very excited although there was a small group who were not sure. I get it. Archie, although the most gentle and good natured dog, is also a big dog. In their eyes, from the ground Archie comes up to their shoulder height. Can you imagine?! If I came face to face with a dog whose nose could sniff my shoulder I would need some strong reassurance too!
And so Archie joined us as we set off into the park walking alongside the children who, all hold on to our waking rope, had eyes glued to him!
As soon as we could Tim took Archie off the lead and began flinging the ball far and wide for the dog to fetch. It was brilliant! The children loved watching him chase the ball and bring it back to throw again.
Once we got to the playground the children took turns in groups of three to step out of the playground and help throw the ball for Archie. There was an ample supply of volunteers! What was lovely was that the children who had been a little tentative were keen to give it a whirl. Even the girl who had been the most shy and nervous wanted to throw the ball for him. She came back declaring, 'I like Archie!'
So a wonderful success! The children asked if Archie would be coming again and we agreed very quickly that he should be a regular fixture on park days.
The next day the first boy through the door asked 'Is the doggie here?' And quite a few of the parents let me know that Archie had been a feature of conversation. They talked about how he had run really fast chasing the ball, how he had done a poo and Tim had picked it up! And also how they had tired him out. :-)
As one parent said 'Archie is the new celebrity in our household!'