Thursday, July 22, 2010


As a dog owner, guardian, parent, one of my responsibilities is to take my dog into the outdoors while tethered to me.  Take them outside the den, into the varied and wonderful aromas of "the wild".  Dogs need to smell the richness of the earth, the markings of other creatures that came before them and feel the breeze inhaled deeply.  I suspect they're just being nosy, but I'm getting off track here.

When I first entered the world of Dog, brought that 1st canine ambassador into my home, I thought "the walk" would be a drag.  Something I had to do because that's what dogs need.  The thought of dragging myself out of a deep sleep, a warm and silent bed to dress with eyes closed and legs heavy, was akin to throwing acid on myself on a daily basis.

"Having a dog better be worth all this damn hassle", I thought back then.

Now that I'm a card-carrying member of the Cult of Dog, I know those walk worries came from my inner cat person talking.  The person who wants a roommate who's never really home - a roommate that's a  flight attendant, maybe.  Or a roommate that's started an intense relationship with their future life partner who's got a swanky apartment on the water.  Someone who doesn't really want to be committed to another living being.

Now before you wonderful cat folks attack, please remember that I love cats and have always (until about 3 years ago) had cats as a part of my family.  That surly teenage family member, but family member nonetheless.      Truthfully, though, the cats that I've always had in my home were more like dogs.  They'd follow me around and were rather playful.  Not so cat-like at all.

This morning I woke earlier than usual for a day off (later than I'd really wanted, but the bed felt extra foofy this morning), and took the girls for a long walk.  I walk one at a time, as combined they weigh almost as much as I do.  The heat wasn't quite unbearable yet.  The neighborhood was quiet - that perfect time of the morning after those going to work have gone and those staying home aren't up and around yet.  First Arwen, then Nyxie.  Poor girls in their coats, they truck along, diligently sniffing all the morning news.

I haven't taken them for long walks in a couple of weeks, the heat and my own schedule keeping them inside.  There's been a lot of work being done in the neighborhood lately, and as most of you know, Nyxie's not receptive to such intrusions.  I forgot how much I missed my private time with each of them.

Each has their own style of "the walk".  Arwen will pull until she's tired and then will lope from patch of grass to patch of grass.  Eventually she'll tire and walk next to me.  We end the walk with her looking like a beautifully leash-trained member of her species.  Exemplary.  Nyxie will try so very hard to not pull at first but her excitement takes herculean efforts on her part to contain.  Her strict German blood wins, and she submits.  Walking with Nyxie is musical.  She falls in next to me, every few steps turning her head to be sure she is pleasing me.  For this I give her free reign as we get closer to home.  With this freedom, she leaps a few times, then back in line on her own accord.  All bets are off if there are perceived "intruders" to her space, so I've learned to bring yummy freeze-dried chicken in the nerd pouch on my hip.

There's something primal to the walk.  The girls know it, I feel it.  We've surveyed our territory and all is well.  Smells have been taken in.  Tensions released.  Things have been peed on, messages left.  Perimeter's secure.  The pack will sleep soundly tonight.    

1 comment:

  1. Because of my girl's fear issues, walks are sometimes extremely stressful for both of us - I've got my ears and eyes out to avoid things that might scare her, and she's essentially doing the same. That's why I love walking in the woods so much - I can just completely relax, forget about everything, and take in my surroundings.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Sam and MargeDog


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