Saturday, June 10, 2017

Life After Dog Sitting

I am trying to continue the good things Smokey the dog taught me while we cohabited. I watch the world around me and go for walks, but I don't nap as much as she does. She is nearly 15 years old which is about105 in people years so I hope I don't need to nap so much yet.

Lots of birds are back and hanging around.
This ruby-throated hummingbird kept turning his back on me, but the siskins, goldfinches, and rose-breasted grosbeaks weren't as aloof.
The purple finches were more personable.

I had to make a very quick trip to the Twin Cities to pick up a guitar that had had some maintenance done and before I headed back I found a park with free admission to go hike around. It seems Smokey got me to the point of needing to walk regularly otherwise I feel like a toad or slug or some other chubby, semi-dormant animal and get easily disgusted with myself. I get over the self loathing if I walk regularly. I feel better, too.

Basically I was walking on cross country ski trails that look like fun to ski during the cooler part of the year. Being well out of the city it was also cooler than the concrete heat sink of urban world. There are, however, some trade offs between city and country living. Here is a sign that mentions one of those things.
Most of the trails are between one and four miles in length and are relatively easy walks. My time was limited and I wasn't sure how I would hold up in the heat (it was in the low 80s) as I am not used to it.

There were lots of mighty oak trees (we don't have those this far north) and they are quite prolific judging by the quantity.

There was a bit of wildlife in the park, too, although it stayed hidden for the most part. Being the keen observer that I am (I can actually see the forest for the trees!) I spotted a few interesting denizens. A lovely garter snake showed herself and didn't crawl away from me right away. I asked if she minded if I took her picture and she said, "no" in the way garter snakes convey those things.
There was a small contingent of Canada geese. If you look closely you may be able to see the little maple leaf insignia on their wings, but you have to know just where to look.
There were nice places to sit and observe the surroundings and the bugs weren't too annoying had I chose to sit, but Smokey taught me not to do it for too long. Otherwise I might stiffen up and lose my motivation to keep pushing forward.
There was also evidence of the cycle of life that is the essence of nature. Sometimes unpleasant for we humans, but a fact of life nonetheless. This is a spot where a bird of prey caught another unsuspecting bird and ate it. It is quick and efficient and there is very little suffering involved.
Smokey's wisdom about the aging process keeps me grounded and accepting of the things I can't change. Always be happy to be among friends, get used to physical discomfort and remember all the wonders you have seen and experienced. It all makes it a bit easier to go forward with this thing called life. Smokey is a very wise dog. I still see her Monday through Friday at work and we always take our moments together as something special where we block out the rest of the world. It is just us and we touch each other and smile knowingly.



  1. Your relationship with Smokey is so sweet! You really should consider adopting a dog, preferably an older one. My first dog as an adult was a seven year old cocker spaniel whose owner had passed away. It was the BEST!

    Your daily walks are JUST what all dogs need most and a canine companion is one of life's joys. I'll bet there's a shelter or rescue near you where the perfect dog is waiting! :)

  2. Jono--Dogs can teach us so many lessons. Old dogs might not be able to be taught new tricks but they sure can teach us two-leggers something...

  3. I need to be more 'dog' and less 'cat' ... I, too, feel better when I'm walking regularly. Thank you for interpreting a dog's take on life; there's a lot of wisdom there.

  4. I have a pair of garter snakes that live under my back steps. good for you to be out walking in the fresh air! I guess summer has come to MN finally.

  5. An eyes wide open walk is a wonderful thing isn't it?
    And thank you (lots) for showing me feathered enchantment I will never see here.

  6. PS: jenny_o's comment made me remember a video which always makes me smile.
    You can see Be more Dog here

  7. Jennifer, If I get another dog it would likely be a rescue or senior. While the walking is good for all of us there are those days when I would rather not. Sigh.

    Sioux, We could learn to simplify our lives and need a lot less by observing their happiness.

    jenny_o, All the animals have something to teach us. Our brains got so big that we forgot most of the basics. Now we just have cluttered minds. P.S. Got a mailing from Heather Rankin about upcoming events. Really makes me want to get out your way for the food, scenery, and music.

    anne marie, The snakes will take care of some of the things your cat might miss. Yes! It's in the 70s today!

    Elephants Child, Glad I could share. You do such a fine job for me in that department.

  8. I hope you did a tick check when you got home!

  9. Smokey must be a wise old dawg to have taught you so much. I hope she's contented in her retirent.

  10. I'm glad you still'walk with Smokey' and that we get to come with you. Physical movement alway helps my head even if what I do isn't always very much for my body.

  11. A nice walk on a good trail is good for many things!

  12. as we get older we learn to see the things of real value around us.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  13. Wise words. Animals make great friends.

  14. I'd love to make that walk with you...

  15. Walks were always my favourite part of having a dog. It's nice that you still get to see Smokey, and that you take her along with you in spirit on your walks. :-)

  16. I love a good walk in nature, but I can't get my lazy dogs to come with. So it's just me. I've befriended a few garter snakes, though. Or I'd like to think they appreciate me guiding them out of the path so they don't get run over by cyclists.

  17. Smokey is indeed a very wise dog. I love taking Tessa (son's golden doodle) for a walk on the trail but haven't been able to walk very far recently due to arrhythmia, it's been quite nasty, maybe I'll do a blog post about it.
    We have those ticks here too, in fact youngest little grandson had one hiding behind his ear! He had to go on a course of antibiotics to make sure there was no lyme disease.
    I didn't think many people knew about the Maple Leaf insignia on the wing of the Canada goose, well done for spotting it, it's very tiny.

  18. I have a dog, but I don't know if I've learned as much from her in ten years as you have from Smokey is two weeks! So now I will try to be more observant ... and instead of grumbling over the early morning and late night walks, will thank her for keeping me healthy..

  19. Debra, Even after I do a tick check I still feel them crawling all over me.

    Gorilla B., She is a good teacher. Today, however, she stayed home under the bed because of the all night thunderstorms.

    Onevikinggirl, A good walk does help cleanse the mind.

    Pixel Peeper, Yes, it does!

    Ol'Buzzard, I hope I am getting the hang of theis wisdom thing.

    Shoshanah, As an animal caretaker I know you understand.

    JACKIESUE, If you ever get up this way you are always welcome to come along.

    Diane, The motivation is much more difficult without Smokey's input.

    ABFTS, Maybe you could carry your dogs a few times and see if it motivates them.

    Shammickite, Medical issues get to be quite annoying in our later years, don't they? I hope I didn't let out some kind of national secret about the geese. I found out about it from a leak in Ottawa during Mulroney's time as P.M.

    Tom, You are just starting to realize that dog owning is beneficial to your overall health and well being. Dogs are so humble they never talk about it.