Monday, 20 February 2012

Exercising Iona

At the beginning of this year I determined to try to take Iona out for at least a little every day, if only for 15 minutes' play in the garden. I haven't done all that well with it, especially recently when I've had a couple of my 6-day migraines either side of a nasty cold (which still hasn't completely gone). However, last Friday I decided to bite the bullet and take her on my long dog walk, which lasts about 40 minutes when I do it on my own with the dog and includes some hills. Previously I've only taken her on the "round the block" and tiny park dog walk, which I can do in 15 minutes, so it's quite a step up as she's not yet 4. Surprisingly, she did very well, and didn't complain of being tired on the way home, although she did sleep for a couple of hours late that afternoon! The next day my husband took the dog out, so I asked if he'd take her as well, and she did quite well then, too, although he wasn't amused that she had to splash in every puddle while out (as it was pouring with rain, so there were quite a few!).

On Sunday we had to walk to church and back, so I didn't take Iona with the dog then, although she said she wanted to come - we're too used to her wanting carrying on the way back from church, even 'though it's only a 15-minute walk, due to too much playing chase with her friends there. Today, however, I figured I'd take her in the morning, so that if she got really tired she wouldn't fall asleep too close to dinner-time. We set off for the 40-minute walk, but as it was only mid-morning and she hadn't done anything much to get tired yet, I asked her if she was up for walking a bit further into the woods that she used to like going to when we still had a car. She was keen, even 'though it was quite cold and she had no scarf. As we got further across the park I had a change of heart, and suggested we build up to it next week, but she was so disappointed that I relented and we crossed the main road and walked up an alleyway towards the woods.

Iona was so happy to be back in the woods. It was only the second time that I've walked the dog that far, and I always find the peace there so rewarding, although it can be hard going with a German Shepherd who's nervous of other dogs. We met a nice couple with a rescue Doberman who's also nervous and barky, and spent a long while chatting, and Iona built up her "stick collection", which yours truly ended up having to carry back in her pocket! I also showed her an uprooted tree which had fallen down across the path at the end of September (I'd meant to drive her to the woods and show her but hadn't ever got around to it before we lost the car), lichen, which she'd asked about, and tree buds, one of which we took home to examine in more detail (I emphasized that we should leave most of the buds on the trees for them to make new leaves).

Iona examining the lichen on a previous visit

By this time it was well after the time that I'd planned to get home, so I suggested we turn around and go home, even 'though she wanted to go and see some others of her favourite landmarks. On the way we had a few grumps that she was tired and cold, but I sympathised with her and told her how well she'd done, and the end of the walk was actually quite cheerful. We ended up with a walk lasting one and three quarter hours, rather than just three quarters, and she didn't even sleep in the afternoon. I promised her, though, that next time we go that far I'll make sure that it's not quite so cold!