It’s a dog’s life being a newspaper columnist

“I like the way Susie Whippet helps you to write your column, said Eric Ovenden when we met him on the Ings.

“She really is a clever dog and I’ve thought of a new name for the column to reflect her input. You could call it Paws 4 thought“ he continued.

Susie drew herself up to her full height, wagged her tail; looked proud and thought that was a good idea. But it isn’t going to happen.

The ‘Our Wetherby’ title was chosen long ago by Marie Fox because the column is about Wetherby and about Wetherby people and their interests.

It is true that Wetherby has many dog-lovers and when you walk around you’ll meet them out for a walk with their dogs.

They’re mostly responsible people who keep control of their dogs and don’t allow them to foul places which they shouldn’t.

Dogs aren’t allowed in some shops and cafes but there are some places which welcome them and there is one shop in Wetherby with a notice saying ‘Dogs welcome, children must be on a lead’.

There are at least three places where visiting dogs are offered biscuits or other treats - the idea being that the dogs will drag their owners back on future occasions - and it works.

So I wasn’t too surprised when Warren Coates and Claire Stubbs asked me what I thought of their latest idea to enhance the Wetherby Sports Association.

They’ve recognised that there are a lot of dog-walkers using the Ings for early morning dog walks and were floating the idea of a dog walker’s cafe offering breakfast coffee, tea and bacon butties early on Saturday and Sunday mornings - and who knows, there might just possibly be a treat to be taken out for the dogs as well.

They’re going to try this idea out sometime soon and will then be open from around eight o’clock in the morning.

After doing some market research, Warren had found that many local people, even those who walked past the place every day, were not aware of the facilities offered by the building and the WSA.

They weren’t aware that the cafe area with its stunning views through the picture windows across the playing fields and river could be used by non-members; or that rooms could be hired for meetings of local groups, children’s birthday parties or other celebrations at little or no charge when not in use for the weekend sporting events.

It could be used much more by the community, especially for daytime weekday events, but without these events being booked in advance they can’t afford to open it all day and every day.

With plenty of parking available I’m surprised they don’t have the many daytime leisure groups clamouring to use the place for their meetings.

They want to broaden the availability to the community and think it shouldn’t be used just for sporting activities. Contact Claire Stubbs or Warren Coates for further details.

Currently, the Association has around 1,000 members and another 100 or so social members and is a hive of activity at weekends.

The main sporting activities are football, rugby and running with membership of the running club having now overtaken that of the rugby club.

Women’s football is also popular and they want to start new under 10’s and under 12’s teams for girls.

Susie likes shreading paper and I thought that I’d trained her to just use paper from the basket.

But the other day I’d made the mistake of leaving a library book open on the floor and after I’d left the room for a few moments I came back to find that she had tossed it around a bit and there were several pages missing.

It was my own fault, I should have put it away on the shelf, but the really annoying point was that she’d ripped up some of the pages I hadn’t yet read.

I read her the riot act and had to wait for the postman to deliver a new copy of the book before I could finish reading it.

Tomorrow we’re going along to the library with both books to apologise for the extra work which the librarian will have to do in transferring the cover and bar code from old to new book.

There are times when I wish she was a normal uneducated dog who loved chasing after balls.