A new, dog-related hobby
Why do I count dogs?
One Saturday in either November or December 2022, my mum came to visit for the weekend. We went into North Laine, did a lot of shopping, I think she took Adam and I to get our Christmas tree? I might be conflating two separate visits. The point is, I saw an awful lot of dogs.
I'd never really taken note of how many dogs I see every day, but I had always gotten excited by them and pointed each one out to whoever I was with: usually mum, Adam, or Xav. But on this day I kept count, and I saw 91 in total. I thought 'cool, that's a lot of dogs and a fun thing to have done', thinking nothing else of it.
The next morning when I left the flat for church, I was greeted by three dogs crossing the path in front of me. And ever since then, I've kept track.
It's not a hobby that takes a lot of time. I have a clicker that Adam bought me for Christmas (and one from Xav, also for Christmas—that's my lifetime tally one). I carry it each day, either on my dungaree strap or attached to my bag, or just in my pocket. Every time I see a dog, I click it. At the end of the day, I put the total number in my spreadsheet.
There's a pivot table so I can see my daily average. Tuesday's are highest because that's my therapy day, and I walk home along the seafront. Thursday's are lowest, probably because by that point I'm tired and don't want to work from anywhere other than home. Sunday's are quite high because I go to a church with a good number of dogs, and we sometimes go for a walk afterwards down to the sea.
I asked my friends to make predictions as to how many I'll see this year:
I reckon Bassey, Adam and Owen are way too low. Maybe even mum is as well. My average goes up every week, and at its current rate I'll see 11866.15 dogs this year. I should see more in the summer, too. I hope Hazel's prediction is correct.
People ask why I do it: it's simply a fun thing to keep track of. It makes me leave the flat every day, because I'll almost definitely see at least one dog if I do. The only days that I haven't seen any are the ones where I haven't gone outside.
I also get asked how I know I'm not counting the same dogs multiple times in one day: gut feeling. Or if they're really distinctive, it's obvious.
I hope I see a lot of dogs this summer. I hope I keep this up for as long as it brings me joy.