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Our daily walks.

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Back in the day, when we got Beary, we were quite proud of ourselves for taking our tiny bear-dog for a once-weekly walk. Maybe even twice a week.

She loved it, and quickly learnt the words and actions associated with going for a walk. She was a little terror to ‘dress’ in her harness, though πŸ™‚ But after some time, she calmed down and would put her own head through the front part, and then go and fetch her leash herself and bring it to us.

As you can imagine, we thought this was plenty cute, so the walks became more frequent.

A year and a bit later, we got Teddy, and he fell right in with the walking routine. In fact, as aloof as Ted is, when it came time for walkies, he’d be out of his skin with excitement.

Fast forward to a couple of years later and walking has become a daily institution, if you could put that word to a much-loved pastime. It’s just that we never, ever skip a day now, if we can possibly help it. Some days, over the weekends, we even go twice a day.

We love it, the dogs love it (oh, how they love it!), it’s exercise for us all, some fresh air and some ‘together’ time as a pack.

(Note, I didn’t use the word ‘family’. That is for sissies; we are a PACK, lol)

Teddy is at heart, I think, a rover. Some chows just are, and they have a need to roam around town, seeing what’s up, marking territory, reading their P-mail. (P-mail is a term coined by Michael, which is like an e-mail but…oh, you get the picture. (Just in case you don’t, though, it involves lifting one’s leg against a bush, after sniffing first to read any previous P-mails πŸ™‚ ).

So because we love him too much to just set him free to roam all over the place without us, we make sure to take him out every day to check his mail and reply where necessary. And we even run with him a bit if there is a cat he needs to chase. (Not really. We can’t keep up. With him or the cat. So we reign him in and he complains bitterly, but oh well. At least he gets to shout abuse at the cat.)

Sometimes, Ted does more than just P-mailing. Sometimes, he adds an ‘attachment’, if you know what I mean. (He takes a sh*t, do I have to spell it out? ;-p)

This is embarassing, because we don’t carry a poop-scoop with us. In fact, I delight in every poo, because it is one less that I have to pick up at home. Luckily for us, Ted mainly is an incognito pooper. He lifts his leg as if he is pee-ing, and you’d have to have an eagle-eye to see the droppings that ensue instead. And if at all possible, he does it into a handy bush, so there really is no evidence. Plus the lucky bush in question is getting fertilised.

Every now and then, though, he’ll do it on someone’s drive-way, right in front on them. And then we squirm.

Both dogs are very good ‘walk-dogs’. We do have to watch for their triggers, though. Cats, in Teddy’s case. And postmen and butterflies, in Beary’s case. We need to be fairly alert for these things, as they can take off at such abrupt speed that it’s liable to rip your arm out of its socket. Or pull you in front of a car.

Most of the time it is pretty peaceful.

We are feeling a much bigger sense of community. Everyone is so friendly when they are on foot. And we get little kids hanging out of their parents’ cars to wave at us all the time. Such fun. We are starting to become quite well-known around the neighbourhood, us and our chows.

For me, personally, the walking means a great deal. Quite apart from the benefits listed above, I never, ever get bored with walking. It is not something I take for granted. I grew up on a farm, where there was plenty of space, but it wasn’t safe to go walking about outside it’s perimeters. So I always wanted to do the townie thing of taking your dogs for a walk.

But then, after getting married and moving to town, the MS got bad enough that I could barely walk to the bathroom, nevermind 2 kilometers on the road. I fantasised about it, though.

Now I can do it and I love it! Highlight of my day. Also, highlight of Teddy’s day, highlight of Beary’s and highlight of Michael’s day πŸ˜€

Michael is very focused on not skipping a day’s walk. He has an app. on his cellphone called Endomondo, which he uses to tracks our walks. It shows us the exact route we took, the distance, the average speed, the total time, the calories burnt etc. Great fun for a stat-keeper such as Michael. Just that extra little gadget-y touch to keep the techie in him happy.

We are pretty proud of the dogs. We have worked out a route that has the minimum number of barking dogs in the gardens we pass. But even with the barkers, our chows walk with grace and dignity, never barking at other dogs or showing any aggression. (We won’t talk about the cats, but fortunately they are few and far between on our walks πŸ™‚

We carry, between us, a sturdy walking-stick and a small, hand-held ‘shock stick’. This is to protect ourselves in the event of an attack from another dog.

So far, neither have been necessary. There have been 3 or 4 big dogs that got out of their yards and stormed us, but in all the cases our chows stood firm, neither advancing or barking or growling. This seems to unnerve the attacking dog and they end up slinking back into their yard. Thank goodness! There were a couple of times that I thought we would be mauled!

According to an app. on Michael’s iPad, the Chow is second from the top on a long list of dog breeds that most closely resemble wolwes, in terms of DNA. Chows are one of the earliest dog breeds to descend from wolves and be domesticated. Which could explain why other dogs feel threatened by them.

The exceptions are three darling huskies that live on our route and sound for all the world as if they are saying ‘hello’ when we walk past. The Husky is a relative of the Chow, both belonging to the Spitz family of dogs.

The other exceptions are their neighbours across the road, a Labrador cross and a Basset Hound. First thing we do when we get out of our gate, is go across the road to say hello to our friends. It is a tail-wagging and sniffing frenzy, all obviously quite delighted with one another. But the Chows are soon off to complete the route, leaving their friends regrettfully behind.

Then we go around the local Primary School, and there are often some children who come over to pet the dogs. They adore children, so this is always a bonus.

And sometimes we cross paths with a fellow dog-walker with a Jack Russel called Milo, and all greet each other warmly. Except for Milo, who strains at his leash a bit and barks. But not too much. Pretty restrained for a Jack Russel, actually.

(Sometimes Milo and his ownerΒ  go for a drive rather than a walk, but they still stop and say ‘hi’, Milo hanging half out of the window with his tongue out and a huge grin on his face.

To wrap up, we sure do love our walks and they have become a real constant in our lives. With Endo mondo tracking us, I shall be able to give regular stats. We had a goal of doing 1000km for the year with our dogs, but at current rate, we are falling rather short of this. But we should easily reach the 500km mark, which will still be an achievement.

Now I had better go and get some beauty sleep in πŸ™‚ but tomorrow I will post some photo’s of our route.

Ciao. (Or should I say, Chow πŸ™‚Β  )

Written by Maggie

February 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Posted in Dogs

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3 Responses

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  1. Nice dogs. Have you tried carrying an umbrella? It creates a really nice visible barrier between you and the barking dog. It’s my first choice as a ‘protection’ item.

    Dr Vadim Chelom

    February 22, 2012 at 6:27 am

  2. […] see Part 1 of the walking saga, click here. This is the photo part of […]

  3. “Say, you have a nice article.Really thank you! Really Great.”

    Karl Judy

    February 29, 2012 at 3:52 am

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