West End Blog

Auf Wiedersehen, pet … no time for paws as we pound the streets of the West End

By Ronnie McGowan

This is Wolfgang, doppelgänger of Buddy.

Buddy's blog

Seeing double: looking back on Buddy’s German doppelgänger

I met Wolfgang by a house overlooking Lake Wannsee, on the outskirts of Berlin.

Each morning, as I notched up one more run, he would be lounging on the terrace, waiting patiently while his meister was in deep conversation with friends over beer and coffee at the small kiosk.

Wolfgang had the manner and physique of a dog whose only acquaintance with exercise was watching the sun rise as the local rowing club’s glistening blades sliced their way across the still lake.

He was a friendly hund, innocent paw ready, unaware of the dark history surrounding this idyllic spot.

On seeing Wolfgang’s photograph Buddy adopted his best disapproving pose while impatiently indicating he would like to crack on with the new regime of running with the dawn chorus.

The birds burst into song around 4.00am and an hour later we’re out and about cruising along the empty streets.

Buddy the dog's blog

Early morning: Buddy takes a breather on the route past Hillhead sports ground

It doesn’t seem like four decades since I did a first teaching practice in the old Girls’ High but there it is readying itself before the bustle of today’s teenagers, quiet now but not so in a few hours’ time.

This is familiar territory for Buddy as he gallops down Cleveden road, towards the Old Station Park with its echoes, from beyond time, of late night engines shunting Hyndland to sleep.

Timing is crucial on this run because a main aim is to pick up the morning paper.

If we arrive too early at the garage the knock-on effect is mildly inconvenient with Buddy shouldering the responsibility for running too quickly. “I blame you for that”, I scold him.

Buddy the dog's blog

Park life: Old Station Park in Hyndland

The rewards for getting out at this peaceful hour are substantial, and Buddy agrees as he tucks into breakfast and I feast on the almond croissant washed down with multiple espressos, all before the 6 o’ clock pips stir the nation.

A busy day beckons, meanwhile Buddy can relax; a bit like Wolfgang really.

* Keep following Ronnie McGowan and his pet Jack Russell Buddy as they embark on a challenge of running every day for a year