We set out along the beach towards the cliffs at the far end, he running ahead as usual, and I keeping an eye out for anyone we knew as my feet slipped back in the deep, soft sand.
The sun was beginning to get some heat and it was still only 6.30am when we reached the 'secret' path up to the cliff path. He looked back at me for the all clear and then climbed up the rocks and disappeared into the undergrowth before re-emerging on the path above me. I called for him to wait, and he did so patiently, but with that look on his face that said "come on, hurry up!"
The path led away in front of us and was certainly dryer than the last time we'd been on it. No soft squelch this time, just the faint sound that shoes make on hard dried earth with a little spring in it. All around me the butterflies flew and the sheep in the field to my left looked up before returning to their morning feast of grass. Rising now, I knew that we'd soon be descending again soon and our destination, his favourite beach, would be in our sights.
He hit the sand running and immediately started for the far end of the beach where he could tread carefully across the seaweed covered rocks before launching himself into the water to swim back towards me. He did this every time he came here. In fact I think he learned to swim properly here. On that occasion we'd suddenly realised he wasn't with us, but the panic subsided as we found him swimming lengths of the beach on his own. The sun was shining on that day as well.
They'd be getting breakfast ready at home right about now, but for Troy and I this was all the sustenance we needed.
My incredibly talented partner has written a children's book - The Adventures of Troy the Spotty Rescue Dog - it is available now on Amazon and in all good book shops