Sometimes It’s Drudgery

They get to participate in at least two excursions per day.  You’d think they’d be dying to get outside, but often it’s a struggle.  Sometimes just finding them is a challenge.  Occasionally I end up hunting for them throughout the house. Once they’re both located, I need to convince them it’s time to go.  I grab Roxy’s leash off the hook, which they both know is the signal for going outside.  They drag their feet to go out into the cold, dark mornings before I settle in for my work day.

Once outside, it instantly changes and they want to sniff every little clump of grass on the way.  Realizing that this could take all morning, I end up trotting downhill with them, which is not really the best thing for my aging knees.  We even run in the dark sometimes, which is always a bit of a thrill.  If we’re moving fast enough, we whiz by all the tempting smells and flora along the way.

Descending the hill with purpose

Once we reach the bottom of the hill, it’s a whole different story.  For Champ, the hunt for small critters is on.  Our older Shiba-Inu Roxy yearns to use her remaining seven teeth on soggy grass blades.  I don’t know why she loves this so much, but it seems to send her to her happy place.  I sometimes take pity on her, until I remember she is about the same age as me, in dog years.

Roxy and I eventually start back up the hill, calling for “Champie” as we begin.  He somehow always finds something to fixate upon.  That could include any sound, sight or smell within his sensory range.  I’ve seen him stand and stare at a cow for a full five minutes, neither of them making a move.  It’s a standoff.  Occasionally I’m forced to start back down the hill with Roxy in tow to retrieve him.

Roxy watching Champ watching a cow.

I know well that a dog’s elimination habits are tied closely to exercise.  A little fresh air and a bit of running triggers a process of, as my wife says, “Getting the juices flowing”, a concept that kind of bothers me.  As we crest the hill, Champ suddenly breaks into a sprint towards the house, often spinning around in a frenzied 180 degrees to threaten Roxy or attack the leash.  It’s all part of his bodily waste ceremony before eventually disappearing into the trees.

Shiba 500 begins

I’m convinced that it’s best when people and dogs have certain daily rituals.  I mean, I assume that dogs like having a ritual.  Ours is well-established.  As tedious as it gets, forcing the dogs (and me) out of the house at least twice a day is a healthy thing.  Every little bit of exercise we get is beneficial.

The road is my salvation and my nemesis.  Soon the snow and freezing rain will be here, just like every other winter.  We will still make the trip, slip-sliding down the hill if that’s what it takes.  It’s always a little scary when we begin our descent.  I sometimes picture myself in my 80’s with two different dogs, struggling to get down the hill.  Losing traction, I hit the ice hard on my brittle hip, sliding all the way down to the bottom as the dogs stand there watching.  They soon return to the house as I lie on the black ice for hours in agony, eventually succumbing to the cold and fall asleep.

Last winter’s driveway disaster

I chose this isolated property fully knowing how much work it require as I got older.  Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking.  Keeping the road maintained and clear is a handful.  Even walking down it can be quite the challenge at times.  But I realize that this it’s one of the things that helps keep me young. I take a certain amount of personal pride in knowing that we will make the trip daily, no matter how dark, wet, icy or snowy it is.  It’s not always comfortable and it’s not always safe.  Honestly, it gets old sometimes.  But it’s what we do, and I’m always glad we did it when we finally get back to the house.




12 thoughts on “Sometimes It’s Drudgery

  1. Many people keep dogs so they have an excuse to go outdoors and get some exercise. But I think from the way you described your daily rituals that the benefits are mutual and you care as much about the dogs as you care for yourself. Are these recent photos from your walks? If so, winter must have arrived early in your neck of the woods, Des.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sound like a great reason to have a dog. If it wasn’t for mine, I doubt I’d get out as often as I do. We’re a team (or a pack, maybe!)
      I think the picture of the icy driveway is from last winter, but the rest are fairly recent. We’ve already had snow and freezing rain here and I’ve already had to plow the road. The Bronco is chained and gassed up, the sander is full. I’m ready for anything. I’m sure you face even tougher winters, so I’m not going to whine too much. Thanks as always, Peter.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank-you! I’ve become such a dog person. Yes, my road is a pain in the neck, but my post was really just another chance to show off pictures of my little dogs! I’ve been taking pictures and video like crazy lately. I probably need to give it a rest now, but thanks so much for responding! Des

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the photos of your dogs! And yes, dogs can be a challenge to walk, especially when you have two of them at the same time. But they do keep us fit and the routine is good for us. As for your road, I can see where that would be a problem when it’s icy or snowy. I would recommend always having your cell phone on you, just in case!

    Liked by 1 person

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