A walk on the healthy side

Going for a walk is one of the highlights of my day. Most people know that the exercise is beneficial to dogs and humans, but I think a walk is about so much more than getting some exercise so I’m going to talk about some of the other benefits.

For me, it’s quality time with one, or more, of my bipeds. I don’t have to share them with any of the many tasks that bipeds find to do for most of the day, their focus is on enjoying the time with me. The cats stay at home while we’re out for a walk – I love the cats but it’s lovely to get all the attention from my bipeds for a while! Quality time together improves the bond between dog and humans.

It is mentally stimulating for me to be able to sniff and find out what is going on in the neighbourhood. Humans miss most of the messages left by other dogs and wildlife, which is surprising as the messages are usually left in obvious places – on trees in the countryside and on street lights in urban areas! This means that even a short walk near to home is interesting as I get to know who has been in the area and when they were there.

Clowie, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees strolling in the mountains

I’m just strolling in the mountains – biped in tow

I have my favourite walks – they all include a stream. I love having a splash in cool water and the opportunity to take a drink – it always tastes better than the water my bipeds are carrying. I also enjoy it when we walk somewhere new because it’s an adventure!

When I was younger we always did some training while we were out. It was often things I’d been doing at home in our garden and I was asked to do them while we were out – it’s always much harder when there are distractions! I also encountered all sorts of people and animals while out on my walks as part of my socialisation.

I still get to show off some of my skills, and keep them honed, when we’re out on a walk. People often want to make a fuss of me and I’m always polite. Sometimes they just want to talk to my bipeds and I sit and show how very patient I am.

Most of my walks are in the countryside as that’s what we enjoy the most, but sometimes we go to a busy place where I see lots of traffic and people. I show that I remember to wait at the kerb until my biped says that it’s safe for us to cross. Sometimes someone will touch me unexpectedly and I take it in my stride (pun intended)!

I try to ensure that my bipeds focus on me during a walk, this is because I think it’s a special time for them to relax and forget about all the day to day things that concern them. I also help them to enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as splashing in a muddy puddle or pausing to sniff a wild flower. I’m not sure why they like sniffing flowers when there are always more interesting things to sniff, but they seem to enjoy it and it gives me more time to sniff things that are interesting!

The Cinnamon Trust

I’d like to mention The Cinnamon Trust, a charity based in the UK. They assist the terminally ill and the elderly to look after their pets. They have a network of volunteers who will do things like taking a dog for a regular walk.

Update on Milo

I interviewed Milo when he was a cheeky young pup and I told you that he was accepted for guide dog school. He’s now a working guide dog. Congratulations and very best wishes, Milo!

Milo's tweet about qualifying as a guide dog

See you next Wednesday!

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I love hiking in new places with my bipeds. Sometimes we walk in a big loop and end up where we started, but quite often we return along the same path. Some of the paths we walk aren’t used very much and it can be difficult to see the path, but I can always retrace our steps.

They noticed this when I was still quite young and they have encouraged me to show them which way to go when we are on our way home. The first time I did this on a long hike, they were surprised when I suddenly settled down for a rest – then they remembered that we’d stopped there for a rest on the way and that made them laugh.

One of our favourite walks separates into two paths that meet up again later – one path is longer than the other and goes to the stream. When we get to that fork, sometimes they choose the direct path and sometimes they say to me, “Which way would you like to go, Clowie?”

It’s a rhetorical question!

Clowie in a stream

Of course I want to go to the stream!

One day we were trying to find a path to the top of a small mountain. We found the beginning of it at the base and began to follow it, but the path grew more and more difficult to see and the trees grew thicker and thicker. We came across a small stream and followed that upwards until that became too steep. Paths in the mountains often follow streams for part of the route.

The bipeds thought they saw the path again and we carried on up. We took a few detours when there was a rocky part without trees and they could see out better and get an idea of how near the top we were. Our progress became even more difficult and they decided that we didn’t have time to get to the top and back down again before it got dark. We stopped and they turned round.

One of them said, “Path? What path?”

They always seem to find it harder to see the path down a mountain when they turn round, but I don’t think they had a clue this time!

The other one said, “I hope Clowie remembers the way, otherwise it’s going to take us ages to find a way back down.”

I had no doubts at all. I headed down through the trees with them following behind me. Occasionally one of them would say, “Are you sure, Clowie?”

I just gave them a look and continued. Then I took a sharp right turn and one of them said, “I’m fairly sure that’s not the way, Clowie!”

I continued a few yards and then stopped and looked at them, while it dawned on them that this was one of the places they’d tried to see out from amongst the trees. Did they apologise? No, but the look on their faces was priceless.

They told me I was clever and made a fuss of me and asked me to carry on. I guided them safely to the lower reaches of the mountain where even they could see the path again!

See you next Wednesday!

Slip sliding away

Before I tell you today’s tale, I have a couple of things to share with you. My friend Basil, in North Yorkshire, England, is looking for a home for a young cat. Over at Doggy’s Style they are concerned for a man who is missing, he is from Santander, Spain. Update: Good news – the missing man has been found alive.

Now for my tale:

It was a lovely day and we went to a spot by a very pretty mountain stream that we’ve been to quite often. The bipeds were having a picnic and I was enjoying splashing about in the stream. We were near waterfalls that have worn the rock into all sorts of strange shapes and there are lots of pools. The stream wasn’t as wide as usual as it was near the end of summer and there hadn’t been much rain for a while. There was a deep pool at the side of the stream that had very slippery rock all the way around it. It had become stagnant as the stream wasn’t flowing into it.

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The would-be thief

There’s a bakery in a nearby village that sends a van out to the neighbouring villages a couple of times a week. My bipeds don’t often buy from it as it never arrives at the same time twice! But this particular day we were just on our way out for a walk when it arrived. My bipeds decided to buy some croissants and take them with us on our walk.

Usually my bipeds put food into a rucksack to carry, but the male biped was carrying the bag of croissants in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. This was because the weather was cool and we were going to the stream, so we didn’t need to take water for me to drink.

We have to pass Ron’s house to get to the stream – his full name is Turrón, but everyone calls him Ron. He is a young German Shepherd Dog and he spends most of his time hanging about in the road outside his house. It seems to be the highlight of his day when we go by. Most bipeds are nervous of him because he is large and, it has to be said, lacking in manners! My bipeds make a fuss of him and he has learnt not to leap all over them because they don’t give him any attention if he does.

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Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When my bipeds first talked about snow I had no idea what it was. Pippin, the cat who is a couple of years older than me, told me that it’s nasty stuff and it’s best to wait indoors until it goes away again. Mulberry, the other cat, had never seen snow either.

Then one morning when we opened the back door everything was white. Pippin didn’t even come across the room to look, he put his ears back to signal his disapproval and went to sit by the fire. Mulberry took a few steps in the snow and he jumped about a little bit. Then he decided it was cold and he went back to join Pippin.

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