Back when my son Brian was a senior in high school, maybe 16 years ago, he volunteered for a while at the Monroe, NY animal shelter. He and a friend would give the dogs some attention and take them for walks. That’s nice, I thought. Then he wanted to bring one home.
“But dad, you have to see this dog!”
“We don’t need another dog. You are going to college next year and I’ll be walking the dog for years.”
“No,” I said in my most stern voice. I was always in total control.
“OK, we’ll just go look.”
Halo came home two days later.
Like many shelter dogs Halo came with baggage. You wouldn’t know it from the picture but she was thin and very hand shy. She shivered when you came near her. Some asshole had obviously mistreated her.
Well time went on. She gained weight and learned to trust. In case you couldn’t tell she was a Siberian Husky. Pure bred? Who knows? But she was enough Husky to need to run regularly. Luckily, I was younger and a runner. Well, Brian did go to college then joined the Army and I walked/ran with the dog for years.
Sometimes we would go to the rail trail. Sometimes we would go to some undeveloped state land not far away and walk/run along the old roads. Mostly though we walked along the roads near the house. There were no sidewalks. What had been country roads were now busy suburban roads that had yet to, and probably never will be, improved to meet the greater volume of traffic.
It wasn’t too bad early in the morning, especially on a weekend. But during the day the traffic seemed to press against the shoulder driving me and the dog further into the ditch. Then there’s a certain type of driver who has to see how close they can get to you. I hated walking the dog there.
Time marched on. Halo had a good 12 years with us and is now in that big dog run in the sky, hopefully running through the snow with the other Huskies.
Walking our new dog is a lot better now. Hercules is another shelter dog. He didn’t seem to have as many issues as Halo but, for whatever reason, someone abandoned him. Maybe it was because he is 100 pounds of muscle, runs like a deer and is smarter than most people. I’m not exaggerating. Somewhere behind those hazel eyes he knows what I’m going to do before I do. Its unnerving!
Almost everyone in Montana lets their dogs run free. Hercules isn’t there yet, maybe someday, but not yet. He likes to run. He likes to chase things. He needs to be on a leash otherwise I’m afraid he’ll take off. That being the case, I get to walk the dog again. I’m making it sound like a chore but its really not. Most times Kat and I go together. It’s a good mile up and down the driveway. There are no buses to run me over, no crazy drivers trying to hit me. This is great.
Most times we walk down the hill to the road and back but sometimes we go exploring up the mountain. Its convenient to have thousands of acres to walk in and on days like today, when the air is crystal clear, it makes you appreciate just how lucky we are to have to walk the dog.