You know the drill. There’s a beautiful, warm, cozy and glowing fire in your living room. Sweat pants are on. A nice dinner’s been eaten. It would be so easy; it would be so great, just to lie on your couch and go to sleep. But, there’s one four-legged bundle of joy wreaking havoc in the hallway a few metres over.
To ensure you won’t wake up to your favourite pillow destroyed, or doggie gifts on the living room floor, you gear up to release your dog’s energy in the most efficient way you know how: a walk.
In the summer dog walking is one ordeal. Simple rolling out in the t-shirt and jeans you're in. But, the winter? First come the boots, then comes the old jacket with crumb laden pockets that you’ll inevitably find you’re stuffing more dog treats and dog bags into, right next to your wallet and cell phone. You’ll walk out the door with hat, leash and struggling to fasten on that safety-dog-light to the collar with one gloved hand and the other freezing, besieged with the clip.
I always wonder what my dog thinks of that little light. Sure it gives us joy, seeing a little light darting and dashing through the bush. But, does it mess with her night vision? Does she think it’s a cool fashion statement? Or, is she woefully embarrassed to be dressed up in such awkwardness?
All these questions will be put to rest, when she comes into contact with another dog, while our panic sets in.
You are probably already well aware of the fact that there are many different dog walking philosophies in this world, and some people stick painstakingly close to theirs.
Our dog has so much energy; it’s inevitable we will always let her off leash. But, it’s always in a trail area and away from civilization. It’s when your hippie-granola-free-leashed dog comes into contact with a dog on leash our impending doom sets in.
Our dog, the dog that didn’t make it through the door of any obedience school, will frolic up to the leashed dog like her long lost best friend. Then, she takes the other dog off the well-behaved straight and narrow.
While dealing with the chaos of our dog and theirs, out of the corner of their eye the other owner will probably see us woefully sprinting behind, waving a leash, treats and frantically yelling anything we read on that puppy training website years ago.
There have been many times when we’ve had to leave this kind of encounter with our tail between our legs. But there have been a few where we have made cordial acquaintanceship status with the other owner. Even more rare is when our family’s friendship circle is entirely composed of dog owners who were pretty chill about the fact our dog nearly terrorized theirs.
But at the end of the walk, you’ll inescapably reach for your doorknob with some new story in your arsenal. Be it finally getting to know the guy who lives in the red house a few doors down, or piecing together a constellation in the sky. Laughing as your dog becomes enamoured with a pinecone, or getting to see some breathtaking northern lights you would’ve otherwise missed.
You’ll come in, shake off your boots, put away your coat and plop down on the couch once more. The fire’s glow will feel warmer, the couch softer, the dog happier and you’ll be glad – genuinely glad – that the little four-legged bundle of joy took you out for a walk today.