I went for a walk this am. As a reward. Not for the dogs, for me.

It was a meandering walk  that covered a couple of kilometers and got some fence patched, some manure spread (our old fashioned method as we don’t over-graze is kick -spreading – and no that’s not an official term anywhere else!)  and checked our young trees.  The dogs ran, and smelled stuff and practiced farm parkour, and got wet  with no help from me.

I earned the reward by having the barn done by 10. Then I  helped  big T get a lovely old barn beam out of a falling building for our lovely neighbours  to use in their bathroom renovations. It was a good morning, and productive,  so a reward walk wasn’t really essential but all who participated  enjoyed it.  One of us stayed home.

Thea isn’t in a place where long pointless walks are her thing. She’s determined and gritty and would have tried it had we asked her but she would have tired and perhaps over done it.  Considering in 22 days we reach the two year mark of the day I was sure she was dying  I don’t do either of those things.  So when we got  home I sat in the sun with her for a  little. I put my phone down and  was present with her. She puttered  and sniffed and then lay down.

If we have ever worked together you might have a sense that is not often how I  spend time. You know what? It didn’t kill me.  I  enjoyed it. Harbingers of spring deserve recognition and the dogs here, and people, and horses, and cats, and birds, all deserve to be appreciated for who they are.

When I first played agility so many years ago I was shocked at the way people at all levels didn’t appreciate the dog they loved. They worked hard to be successful at agility but the dog was a tool to an end. (at least on the agility field)   They believed that  they had dominion and the dog did the sport because the human said so. It wasn’t the way I thought  – dog sports were about team for me and  having such a variety of dogs to play with ensured that there was always someone up for nearly anything.

I have always  taken my dog into consideration – our first dog, Kelly, an Irish Setter – was amazing, and she and I spent  hours exploring the trails near our house. She’s the dog who taught me the value of go no where walks …. not that we went no where – but we had no destination in mind – we just went, and went and went.

Today reminded me of her. Of us. Of the fun we had just being.  No earth shaking expectation of success, no need to prove anything – just friends, together being together for the sake of that and no more.  Love the dog you have. You might have a lovely surprise in store. If you are struggling to feel like team in the face of your challenges check out this term’s FDSA course.  Sign up if you want – you might have a pleasant surprise in store!

 (Don’t forget, actually you don’t know this – I am also available for privates if you have a specific need!)