Please indulge me as I write some more about “Walking the Beagle”. I know you fellow pet lovers understand that we are like parents/grandparents who never tire of talking (or writing) about our pets. If we can get a friendly ear we can go on and on with stories about our pets. I am not a very social person, and actually avoid social events; but on those occasions when I do have to go to one, I am happiest if I can find a pet person to talk to. I don’t like to talk about myself, but I LOVE to talk about my pets! I also love to hear about other people’s pets.
I was reading a post the other day on another blog called “Something Wagging This Way Comes”. I love this blog, by the way. Her post was called “Twin Pups From Different Mothers”. In it she mentions that very few people in her neighborhood walk their dogs in the winter. Now she wasn’t saying this as a bad thing, just the way it is, but somehow it brought a whole lot of guilt out in me. I am one of those people. I have to confess that I am a fair weather dog walker. My older beagle needs better than that. I realized I hadn’t had him out for a walk in a few days (the Thanksgiving holiday also interfered), but I know how I am, and our walks have slowed down from early autumn on. Bear in mind, I am pretty much a fair weather person about everything. I only kayak when it’s sunny and warm. I mostly only work in my gardens when it’s sunny. Occasionally you’ll see me out in the rain, if things have been neglected because of a bad spell of weather, but mostly I’d be in my greenhouse on rainy days.
I live in New England, to make things even worse. As fall moves on, of course our walking schedule has to change. In the summer, it’s early mornings before it gets too hot. In the spring and fall it can be mid-morning after it’s warmed up a bit. As the temperatures drop more and more, now it is late morning or early afternoon. I start out in October or so telling Kobi that we’ll leave on our walk once it hits 50 degrees. Eventually I had to drop that to 40 degrees. Now we’re at “if it gets above freezing we’ll go for our walk.” What happens when it goes below freezing? Sooner or later the snow will fall and we may not be able to walk on the roads as they narrow from the snowbanks, and get covered with road salt. I have snowshoes I can put on, but Kobi is getting a bit old to trudge through the snow, I think, if it gets very deep. He used to always be a trooper about it, but there were times, even when he was younger, that he would drop behind me and follow my snowshoe tracks!
You see, I am already working on my excuses. I didn’t used to hibernate in the winter. I used to get out often on my snowshoes, and I keep saying I want to get ice skates again. I haven’t. As I get older the hibernation seems to get worse. At first, I don’t even realize I’m doing it. Part of the problem may be that we live on a hill, and when I open the sliding door to let the dogs out into the fenced in yard, the cold wind tends to whip up the hill at me. I retreat inside and decide I don’t want to go out there. It is entirely motivation that I lack. Once I get out there moving, I love it! I love the fresh crisp air, and Kobi loves it too. The cold doesn’t slow him down any. He would go out in any weather. Not that I’ve taken him in the rain much, mind you, but often we let him out into the dog yard in the rain and have to yell to him to come in. He doesn’t need a coat, or a hat, or gloves. That also may be part of my problem….all that bundling up seems like so much work! How nice is it to have a built in fur coat that keeps you warm?
So since I read that blog and the self-induced guilt set in, I have walked Kobi both of my days off this week, when it barely got above freezing. I guess it doesn’t matter what motivates me, as long as it does! After all, Kobi won’t complain if I don’t walk him. He doesn’t mind being a couch potato in front of the woodstove either. Once the snow falls, maybe I can get my husband to blaze some trails around our property once there is snow on the ground (or I can talk myself into doing it with my snowshoes). We only have less than 2 acres, but it is enough to make some trails, and Kobi can smell where the deer and other wildlife go through. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
On a side note, when I got home from walking Kobi the other day, I wanted the other dogs to get their exercise too. The goldens had tried to start a game of ball, but they are kind of hopeless if the little beagle, Cricket, doesn’t do all the fetching for them. See my post on Rules of the Game. Mind you, Cricket had been either crashed on the couch or in front of the woodstove all morning. Hmm…kind of like Mom, I think! The only way to get her motivated is if I go outside myself. So for a 2nd time I had to bundle up, and go outside! I grabbed the pooper scooper and rake and got that job done while throwing their ball with the chuck it. Then the games continue even after I go back inside. Once I get them started, they don’t need me out there anymore. I can throw the ball from the door. Perhaps getting the dogs their needed exercise really is all the motivation I need! Though a little guilt never hurts either.