Yesterday was a day of thunder and lightning and driving rain as a storm went over. On the boat we were lucky enough to be offered an out-of-the-wind spot on the camp deck —  a special privilege, as its normally out of bounds in the winter — for short dog walks and comfort breaks during the crossing.

Last night we stayed at a Novotel at Bologna as our normal hotel was closed, it being Sunday. We had to find somewhere with a secure fenced-in car park and a grassy area for the evening and morning dog walks.

Courier M walked everyone this morning, while courier J handled room service — fresh water, clean paper, shake out the duvets, and breakfast treats organised.

Because we don’t know if these dogs will eat together, we feed them at ‘stations’ outside the van so that we can watch and record they do/don’t eat and drink. It’s very important as these dogs might guard food and possibly have ‘tiffs’, or just not eat at all, so we encourage them if they appear reluctant. Fortunately they all seem to like the organic dry food we’ve recently switched to.

They have very quickly got into the routine. We always walk them in the same order: it’s very amusing as they have quickly cottoned onto the idea of when it’s their turn!  ‘Me now, me now,’ sitting up straight because they know we have doggy treats in our pockets. They sniff around straightaway knowing that food is on offer as well as a walk.

They’re also happy with the post-walk routine — getting back into the van and into their cages, and a pat, tickle around the ears, hug and another treat.

Today we’re meeting our vet who will give them the once over, do their parasite treatments and sign off their books.

Phaidon enjoys his post-walk treat