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April 9, 2014: Walking the Dog

It both rained and snowed today. This had a decided effect on my attitude. I didn’t want to go out at all, and I wasn’t feeling at all like riding the horses. So I finally blew off the idea of doing a horseback ride. I could do this because the horses don’t live in the house, making it easier for me to ignore their wants, needs, desires, hopes, and fears. However, I could not blow off the idea of taking the dogs for a walk, because they live in the house, making it near impossible for me to ignore their wants, needs, desires, hopes, and fears. They get restless when they don’t get any exercise – Jenna and Rainbow begin padding about, and Ryder chews things she ought not – the latest casualty is the ruff on my left slipper. Grr, grr, grr, I say.

So I put on my rain pants and nylon windbreaker, as well as under layers, then put leashes on Rainbow and Ryder.

The trail was mushy, the sky overcast. But in short order the rain disappeared and large flakes began falling slowly to the ground.

It turned out to be a lengthy, but very good hike. I’d determined to make it brief, but once I got to Grizzly Camp, I decided to keep going. And it felt good to keep going. I had not, since Pete left, gotten much of anything done, just the bare minimum. This has happened before, so I know from past experience that the least I can do—the most I can do—is go by foot from point A to point B. This way, I feel like I’m really doing something. Hikes are the best, because as a yoga instructor once pointed out to me, “no one ever regrets going for a hike.”

Getting the dogs out is added incentive. Someone once said that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man. I might add that the outside of a dog is good for the inside of a hiker.

We as humans tend to anticipate things; then we feel let down when they come to be. This is not so for me when it comes to dog walking. I feel surges of joy when I take them out and observe them in their native habitat. This time was no exception. Rainbow and Jenna mostly followed behind, with Rainbow occasionally running off into the woods to check things out. Ryder was off the path most of time – and I did worry about her some, because in the past trappers have set traps adjacent to the trail. Interesting, the other dogs also get concerned about Ryder. They will, if she ventures too far distant, stop and wait for her. If too much time elapses (as happened a few times yesterday) we backtrack.

I like when going on walks to take the dog’s body language into account. Tails up, ears erect, this means that something’s out there, and most likely, they’re going to head in that direction. The same with tails down means that they’re interested in where one of their companions has gone, and that they’re thinking about going to do a look see.

Jenna is at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to communicating to me or the other dogs what’s going on in her little doggie mind. This is because she has floppy ears and no tail to speak of. Just a stump. This has brought to mind my thought that such dogs have been done a disservice. It further mystifies me as to why people continue to breed dogs that can’t, either on trail or off, communicate their wishes to others.

It turned out to be a good walk. It ended up taking about three hours total. Once back in the house, the dogs ate their dinner, then took what they thought were much-deserved naps; Ryder gravitated to her Woof mat, Rainbow gravitated to the couch, and Jenna (with assistance) followed me up the stairs to the bedroom. I then sat down and wrote about our latest outing.

Next: 100. 4/10/14 Horse Trekking: Musings about Going Solo