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.

Chick brought back to bosom of family

July 12th, 2014

WEDNESDAY AND Thursday’s heat wave proved too much for the dogs. Macbeth, with the wisdom of age, stayed firmly indoors. Inka wouldn’t be told and lay in the garden panting in the strong sun until we had to practically drag him into the shade. He’s not a very bright dog sometimes.

Of course, their hair shirt doesn’t help. Dogs don’t sweat over the whole of their bodies like us humans. They regulate their body heat by panting and sweating through their feet.

It’s worthwhile reminding readers just how quickly dogs can succumb to overheating and, at worst, can die if left in cars with too little ventilation.

So today’s message from the bridge is – in very hot weather it’s better to leave dogs at home than leave them unattended in a hot car.

Have plenty of fresh, cool water for them available indoors and out. Don’t leave water in direct sunlight – warm water won’t provide the relief your dog needs.

Sycamore trees are dropping their familiar winged seeds already, which is early enough but not exceptional. What has surprised me is seeing fresh, green beech mast littering the ground when I wouldn’t expect to see it for several months.

It’s surely an early summer for I’ve picked and eaten my first handful of wild raspberries. The Doyenne is horrified. On her kitchen calendar the wild raspberry jelly is made after the garden raspberry and strawberry jam – and she hasn’t started them yet.

I don’t usually see many bats when I take the dogs out last thing but I like to watch them hawking, as it’s called, in the dusk for their insect prey. The warm weather has produced large hatchings of insects and the night hunters have been much busier in recent evenings.

The garden songbirds are run ragged feeding their chicks and fledglings. The house sparrow chicks seem the most vocal and demanding, sitting on fences and bawling to be fed – but that’s bairns all over. Thrushes are still stalking the grass at 10pm, hunting for worms attracted to the surface by the moist, cool night air.

The swallows which nested under the eaves have hatched their eggs. It’s too high to see how many chicks there are but I see one small face peering out. For some reason the parent birds find the blackbirds a threat and swoop down to chase them off when they get too close.

Interaction between us humans and wildlife takes unexpected turns.

A country reader has a cattle grid at her gate to keep heavy-hoofed visitors from rampaging round her garden. The cattle grid has a hedgehog ramp so that stravaiging hedgehogs, out hunting at night, that fall into the pit beneath the grid (they have poor eyesight anyway) – can get out.

A red legged partridge and her family of eleven chicks had found their way down the ramp and into the pit, and seemed uncertain what to do next. The chicks were scarcely out of the egg as they still had the egg tooth on their beaks, a hard, sharp protuberance to help break through the egg shell, which drops off soon after hatching.

At the reader’s appearance the mother and five of her chicks escaped back up the ramp to freedom. The reader scooped up five other chicks she could see and set them down where she hoped the mother bird would find them.

Checking later she noticed a further chick lying, apparently dead, amongst the dead leaves in the bottom of the pit. More in hope than expectation that the chick was suffering from hypothermia, she slipped it into the warmth of her armpit.

She became aware of gentle movement – the chick was responding to her body heat.

As you can imagine, it was an awkward little bundle to carry around in her oxter so she popped it down her cleavage! After an hour in this unfamiliar sanctuary the chick had revived enough to be left where – to coin a phrase – it might be restored to the bosom of its family. Another hour later there was no sign of it.

“It’s just the sort of thing my mother would have done”, the reader told me. I was grateful for the explanation and her pioneering contribution to wildlife conservation.

Written on Saturday, July 12th, 2014 at 6:34 pm for Weekly.