Happy Thorsday, little friday and Thankful Thursday! I have up a quickie review of a new to us dog food on the girls’ blog. For this post though, I’m going to talk about the calculated risks I take to share my fitness routine with my dogs.
- Two leashes. Just walking two dogs at the same time requires an extra layer of attention. I favor the one leash per hand method, because both of my girls are active hunters and are apt to be moving in different directions at different speeds at any given moment.
- Retractable leashes. I realize they’re controversial. I’ve had one serious “leash burn” from Gretchen’s wee wire-like cord on the back of my leg, and they seem to delight in wrapping up their prey when we do stop to visit with another human. However, I understand that my girls are high energy dogs with hunting instincts, and part of the joy for me is sharing the woods with them, so… I choose to give them the added freedom of a longer leash, even though it is sometimes at my expense.
- Mixed terrain. On an average day, we walk on gravel, tar and gravel, cement, grass, dirt, and even ford a little stream. Tree roots and other natural obstacles are everywhere. I’m still in search of the perfect shoe for all surfaces, and for my own orthopedic needs.
- Living, breathing, moving distractions. Gretchen is getting better about not being so highly reactive, so it’s not as stressful – or as physically challenging for me – to encounter other dogs, people, horses, etc. on our walks.
- Vehicles. I wish I could say that everyone who travels our little dead-end road is considerate and alert… but they aren’t, so we have to be. One of the first commands I’ve taught all of my dogs is “out of the road!” and that means race up the bank to the left and STAY. HURRY! is another important command, because not all drivers obey speed limits. Hem.
- I am proud to say we’ve had no serious injuries in well over a year of walking at least 6 days a week, usually around 30+ miles per week. We’ve had slow walks because Gretchen got a thorn in her paw, we’ve turned around early because Sissy stepped on a wasp, and I’ve had a charlie horse and just last week, a sprained ankle, but nothing has kept us sidelined for more than a day here or there!
That’s the thankful part! I’m so grateful that while we’ve encountered snakes, a raccoon in the daytime, countless deer, etc., it’s all been without any real incident. Sissy has gotten plenty hot, Gretchen has had to be carried both because she was terrified and because her paw hurt, and I’ve pushed through and walked on home with my own ailments.
Oh. Well. I suppose ringworm and Lymes Disease probably count against me somehow, but both responded well to treatment and neither put me on the disabled list. I wouldn’t trade my walking with the girls for anything. While I do like a class in a nice, climate controlled studio, and I do go run on the elliptical for my speed training, my favorite exercise involves the great outdoors, the kindness of generous neighbors, two leashes, and the best workout partners ever.
What are you thankful for today?