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!

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

At this time of year, we often wake up to an upside down world where we’re above the clouds.

misty morning

Above the clouds!

There aren’t many minutes each morning to get a decent photograph. My biped tells me that it’s still too dark and when I remind her a few minutes later, it’s turned into a mist hiding the mountains. As soon as the sun hits the cloud, it starts to drift upwards and the magical effect is lost. These photographs were taken in the Spring when we also sometimes see the clouds below us in the mornings after it’s rained.

Mist after rain

After the rain

My bipeds tell me that “mellow fruitfulness” means things like this butternut squash! Well, I know that bipeds like food almost as much as dogs do, but I don’t think it’s a subject for poetry.

Butternut squash

Butternut squash

I think John Keats meant to say “mountain walks and hikes”. Autumn is the perfect season for hiking in the mountains. The higher parts are at their most accessible. This is partly because of the temperatures and partly because there’s hardly any snow.

Paths that are easily walked at this time of year are covered in snow in the winter and spring. It’s fun to walk up the mountain to the snow and play, but it’s also fun to explore more tracks higher up the mountains while they’re free of snow.

I love it when I see my bipeds get rucksacks (backpacks) ready and put their walking boots on. I know we’re going on a hike and I go and wait by the door. I try to wait very patiently, but sometimes they take so long getting ready that I have to sigh! They laugh and tell me they won’t be long. There’s nothing I like better than spending the whole day walking with my bipeds, it’s my favourite thing about the autumn.

What do you enjoy most about this time of the year? Autumn or Spring, depending which hemisphere you live in!

The title is the first line of “To Autumn” by John Keats.

See you next Wednesday!