After hearing the sad news of Sammy's passing this morning I wanted to share the interview I did with him for my newsletter back in October. I have also added my book review as Sammy was an author. The interview is below as originally published including original photographs. RIP Sammy
For anyone left who doesn't know Sammy is my canine friend who lives in the Forest of Dean. I am thrilled he agreed to talk to me for this newsletter. It's his first interview. I couldn't resist adding photos,
Tell me about your book When I was a pup, my human (some call her Cheryl, others call her Mum. I like Mum) would come with me for walks in our Forest. Trouble is, she hadn’t lived here long herself, and despite me trying to get back to the car she’d constantly wander off in the wrong direction. Sometimes we’d be out there so long I’d give up hope of ever getting my dinner. But, for a human, she’s reasonably bright (although after all these years she can still forget her training in the wag of a tail, and there I am waiting for the due treat and she’s back at the table sipping a glass of wine… sigh, the patience one has to have.) Anyway, eventually she learned her way around and one day the other human (the one we keep mostly for decoration as he doesn’t walk or feed me. I have, however, managed to train him to give me the occasional treat when she’s forgotten or not looking, so he does have a use. And in return for these small kindnesses I keep him company in his man cave when she’s vacuuming. Fair’s fair.) So – the other human, the decorative one, he suggests we write down all the walks I take her on and make them into a book. Good idea, as then other dogs wouldn’t have long waits for their dinners because their human doesn’t know one forest track from the other. It was fun making the book. Mum carried a little yellow gizmo which she gave back to the decorative one after each walk, and then she’d take the piece of paper he printed out and we’d do the walk again while she scribbled in a note pad. We did those walks lots of times. Other dogs I’ve met whose humans have the book tell me it was a good thing as they don’t have to point out the right way, just let the humans look at the book and then they know where to go. I told you she was pretty bright for a human. What’s your favourite walk? The best walks are the ones where I meet my dog friends, like tall, blonde Lola whom I’ve known since we were pups, or Daisy, who’s even taller and has long grey and white hair. I like to make sure the humans we meet know they’re welcome in our Forest too, so I go up to them all to tell them. Mum calls me the Forest of Dean Welcome Dog. As for favourite places, I love narrow shady tracks, even when it’s muddy (which it is a lot in the Forest). Sometimes we see baby wild boar. I used to try to play with them but they weren’t very good at playing. Better to chase squirrels, or pretend to chase deer, but not too far from the track. Can’t leave Mum by herself for too long. Do you know any other dog authors? There are others? It seems you are a local celebrity. What’s that like? It’s true. Everyone in the Forest knows Sammy and his book. Sometimes we come across people using it on their walks and they point at me, pat me, and smile. A few times, they’ve had their photo taken with me. I like being made a fuss of, so it’s all good. What are your favourite things? Food, my bed, food, going for walks, food, lovely Emma who does things to my back and legs every now and then and gives me treats as payment for the privilege. Food. Will you write any more books? Hmm. Probably not. Truth is, my walks have gotten much shorter over the last year or so. I think my human is growing lazy, but I don’t complain because, just between us, we go about as far as my stiff legs can take me. She also walks more slowly, and I’m secretly grateful for that too as it means I can do the same. I wouldn’t like to embarrass her. Besides, she’s too busy writing her own books these days. They’ll never be as good as mine, but it’s good to see her keeping her brain busy. It also means I can spend lots of time sleeping by her desk, one eye open to make sure she doesn’t go on any walks without me.
Bio Sammy Mayo is a pedigree border collie who has lived in the Forest of Dean all his life. He arrived there in early 2009 at just six weeks old and has rarely been away from home since. He loves walking in the trees, pretending to chase deer, and peering up trees persuading squirrels to come back down as it’s cheating to run up a tree where he can’t follow. His book, Sammy’s Walks: Dog Walks in the Forest of Dean, has been a constant seller since 2013 and has gone through five editions.
Unusual choice for me - no dog and a bit far from the Forest but I couldn't resist. Cheryl Burman knows her stuff.
I have an interest in the Forest of Dean from afar. I read this like I would with any nonfiction book. I can see the authors have thoroughly researched these walks (adding comments about different times of year/weather conditions). I am awarding it 5 stars knowing that if I was to take these walks everything would check out (as much as you can expect given that books of this nature are only 100% accurate at time of writing as things change constantly in a living forest). It is unreasonable to expect updated versions every time something changes in this beautiful, historical, vast landscape. I am sure walkers (with or without dogs) would appreciate the effort that has gone into this slim volume and dogs will appreciate that their Mums and Dads don't get lost. One day I hope to check some of them out or myself. P.S. buy the latest version. Go here for more photos and information about Sammy’s Walks https://cherylburman.com/sammyswalks/