Sunday, August 2, 2015

Twilight Promenade

I'm finally feeling physically up to a decent length of dog walk! It's been a physically challenging (and expensive!) year for me. Nicki has not been getting the exercise she deserves or needs. Her Dad isn't one for dog walking. There's nobody else available. I haven't been physically up to it. So Nicki has been a little furry couch potato. The most amazing thing is that this has not resulted in any negative behaviors! What she has wanted more than anything was to simply hang with me in whatever convalescing location the moment presented, and nap. Or cuddle. No cushion chewing, no indoor waste management .... just hangin' with Mom.

While that's a minor miracle, and very helpful from a convalescent standpoint, it's not fair to Nicki. So now that I can walk for longer, we've resumed our neighborhood patrols. The squirrels are no longer safe! Chipmunks doubly so!

It has, however, been beastly hot during the day. Stay-inside-and-in-front-of-the-fan hot. If it's too hot for me to exercise, it's too hot for my girl with the luscious fur coat! If we wait until evening, it's much, MUCH better on all of us. But we have to be careful. The waning sunlight means less visibility on the roads, and we need to be smart about safety. Last year, Nicki won an awesome leash in a contest. It's made by Mountain Dog and we love it!

We got this model in the bright neon yellow!

The thing that I initially loved about this leash was its strength. Although Nicki is small, she is mighty! When she first came to us, she was something of an escape artist. On her freedom ride, she had tried to chew through a leash during a potty stop! When she got here, she would vigorously "buck" on the end of the leash. On two occasions, she was able to slip out of, first, a collar, then a harness! She would also buck on the leash when she saw a squirrel. It was scary! This leash gave me faith that I could protect her until she learned she no longer needed to get away. What I noticed yesterday evening, though, was the colour! It's so bright it almost glowed in the dark! That was exactly why I used it for this twilight walk: visibility in the dusk. You may not have seen me or Nicki, but you'd definitely see that leash!

So we wait for twilight. The world cools down. The light softens. The roar of traffic lulls. Kitchen windows glow. The grass is cool. In that gorgeous, soft evening, we walk. The scents are still there, and some are even fresher as other dogs walk their owners in the dusk. The squirrels have wisely gone to bed, so it's a little more calm, too. Our pace is quick, but not hurried. And by the time we get home, we both have slowed down. We've had our workout, but we're also in no hurry for the evening walk to end. At this time of year, and this time of day, our walks tend to stretch themselves out a little. As the days grow shorter, our walks grow longer. Soon walks will require coats and boots and strategy. But for now - there are fireflies!