Me and My Pet - Claire Farley and Gomez

PUBLISHED: 00:00 31 January 2018

Claire and Gomez in the Dearne Valley

Claire and Gomez in the Dearne Valley

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South Yorkshire community support officer Claire Farley on her Boston Terror - sorry, Terrier

Gomez on the summit of Harrison Stickle in the Lake DistrictGomez on the summit of Harrison Stickle in the Lake District

As I reach the halfway stage of the 30-mile Dearne Way walk, I look down and smile at Gomez, our Boston Terror (you’ll understand soon enough). He has negotiated the terrain with ease, thanks to his red action harness, which has a little handle on the back that lets me lift him over a stile before we take a break and admire the view.

I’ve always had a real passion for walking and it’s so much better with a four-legged friend by my side. My partner Mark and I got Gomez after I relocated from North Yorkshire to live with him in the Dearne Valley. Both keen walkers, we met while trekking in Morocco in 2010 (it’s a small world).

It has taken time to adjust to living in South Yorkshire but my job as project support officer at the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP), a scheme that works with local communities to protect, preserve and enhance the area, has helped me to fall in love with the surroundings.

We live in Barnburgh, a lovely rural village set between Barnsley and Doncaster on the edge of the Dearne Valley. Buzzards can often be seen circling overhead and it’s a haven for a variety of flora and fauna.

While we’re at work, Mark’s parents take care of Gomez during the day. We are fortunate that they also live in Barnburgh and are keen walkers, so he gets all the exercise he needs. At just two years old, he’s still full of energy so, when we return home, we head out every evening to explore the many great walks that surround the village.

Gomez came to live with us at Christmas 2015, and he has changed our lives in so many ways. He is a very comical character and very cute, which makes it very hard to be cross with him if he’s naughty. Most people mistake him for a French Bulldog because they have very similar markings, but Boston Terriers are leaner and taller.

Although Gomez is quite small for his breed, he’s mighty when it comes to walking. We love the Lake District and we take him with us whenever we go. His special walking harness means we can lift him over large rocks and boulders, so he can summit peaks that other larger dogs wouldn’t be able to manage. We know he has fun on our walks because he has many mad moments. He does a strange little dance, spins around on the spot and then charges off with his bottom down like a little bull. It makes me laugh every time he does it; I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. He’s such a happy little chap.

We hope we have many enjoyable years to come exploring the beautiful Dearne Valley with Gomez by our side, laughing as he tackles the boulders, streams and stiles with his signature moves.

Claire Farley is a project support officer working for the DVLP at Elsecar Heritage Centre in Barnsley. For further information, visit discoverdearne.org.uk

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