Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

Em-barking on a dogs’ party

June 30th, 2007

THERE'S AN enthusiasm for their dogs' welfare that grips some dog owners, but which non-dog owners might regard as so misplaced as to border on lunacy. And it troubles me to admit that the Doyenne and I appear to be slipping into the “barking” category.

We all received an invitation – dogs, Doyenne and me, that is – to a “Surprise” 1st

Birthday Party on Montrose beach for Kiwi, a black Labrador, which took place last Sunday. Races and fun were promised but “hopefully no fights”, which rather took the edge off the event for Macbeth. One lead per dog was recommended – even at his most ferocious, one lead is enough for Macbeth. Our hosts undertook to provide fresh water for dogs (I've seen dogs trying to drink seawater and they really don't enjoy it). A birthday cake was promised and any dog loving human would have been proud to be the recipient of such a handsome confection. It seemed a bit hard that it wasn't shared with the dogs whose day it was meant to be. There were races on the beach for dogs – with prizes. I'm afraid with his little sawn-off legs Macbeth stood no chance. If Inka had had his wits about him I'm quite sure he was speedy enough to have won his category. For reasons best known to himself he ran in the opposite direction so we went home empty handed.

I had been a prophet of doom beforehand, predicting that dogs would run off and we'd be picking them up at Stonehaven before the day was out. Our two had been in kennels for a fortnight while we were on holiday and they gloried in being able to run free. Dogs can display their emotions very clearly and it was a pleasure to see them so obviously enjoying themselves. If there was a problem, it was that there were so many black Labs it was difficult to identify “our boy” in the melee.

Nothing was overlooked in the preparations for the day – there was even a spade to dispose of unwelcome “memories”. The only mad ones were the humans who went out in pouring rain – against which we have no natural protection – wearing wellies, waxed jackets, bunnets and some even sporting umbrellas.

As the party ended the wind was blowing a fine  spindrift off the waves of the incoming tide, blotting out Milton Ness at the top end of St Cyrus Bay. At their grandchildren's insistence our hosts ensured every dog went home with a special dogs' party goody bag – unbelievable really.

We made our way back to the cars telling each other what tremendous fun it had all been. The truth of the matter is it had been a howling success, and I'd do it again however barking mad anyone else should think I might be.