We have had our Misty for almost 1 year now. She was born May 2 and moved in with us July 9. She weighed 66 pounds at her one year vet check. Misty has nicely settled in to life as our dog. She has learned all her basic commands like sit, stay, shake paw, and lie down. She walks very nicely at heel without pulling. She knows to bark at strangers and strange things but to ignore the ordinary around us. She has our schedule figured out and she knows how to let us know when she needs/wants something. She prevents us from being too absorbed in our work by nudging our elbow aside and sticking her head in our lap. She is still a lot of puppy, getting overexcited and forgetting her manners sometimes, but it is less and less and for shorter and shorter periods of time.
She has her own private space in the yard that is fenced and secure. She goes in and out whenever she wants and sits on the deck watching the world go by or she digs or plays with her toys. She likes squeaky toys and stuffies. Her bed is beside our desks because she likes that best. She is not allowed to sleep on our bed with us because the cat won’t allow it, so she sleeps in the doorway or by our desks at night.
One of our favourite activities is our daily walk. We walk out of town onto a country road going about a kilometre or so out and then back for a typical daily walk of two kilometres. Sometimes we go more, sometimes less depending on weather and how we feel. Misty, being black, really feels the heat so we have to be careful not to overexert in heat. (If its hot we go swimming instead.)
Misty is not yet 100% reliable on recall, especially if she spots another animal. Since we often see a skunk, and the occasional coyote or bear on our walks I still keep her on leash. (That goes double for that resident skunk we see or smell almost every walk.) The 27 foot horse lunge line is perfect for these walks as she can range up and down and off to the sides almost as much as off leash but she’s still safe. There is always lots to see and sniff.
For me the best part of the walk is the ever changing wildflowers. I know dogs don’t see colours the way we do but I like to think her smell palette is as pleased by the scents of our walks as my eyes are by the wildflowers. She acts like that is true.
Taking your dog for a walk in the country is not just good exercise. It is food for the soul. There is a sense of peace and calm and perspective walking a dog. If I didn’t have my dog insisting we break to take our walk, we’d probably hardly ever get around to it. Dogs live in the moment and love the moment in which they live. I am blessed to have good health and a nice dog to share a daily walk with and remind to let go of my work and pause and go look at wildflowers. No wonder dog people are fitter and live longer.