Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful While Walking the Dogs?

Gratitude for a Wide Berth of Safety

Rosie and Deek, my Black Lab-Virginia Coon Hounds, can be trying on the best of days. I’m not one of those “dog people,” even though I do love them. I’m not one to gush over animals, and Cesar would be appalled at my dogs’ behavior (as am I), but I take care of them and part of that care is walking them daily—several times a day.
Rosie and Deek’s keen desire to hunt means a daily walk is often a challenge; they sense, they sniff, they want to blast off into the woods and find whatever it is that produces that delightful aroma. At 5 foot, 2 inches, and 115 pounds, it can be difficult to rein in the two of them when the aroma beckons.
Since we left the two-acre-plus house in MA and I no longer can let the dogs loose into the fields, I know the saying, “keep them on a tight leash” is no cliché. I often must restrain them from more than the “chase,” because of other dangers of which they are unaware. Dim bulbs they are, these dogs have no clue that cars and trucks and vans will hurt them, so I also keep them on a tight leash whenever vehicles approach.
It is obvious that many drivers believe the speed limit is optional, so I take extra care when walking Rosie and Deek and often step off the side of the road to give us an extra-wide berth of safety. Not always, though. As soon as they see us, many, many drivers head as close to the center line as they can and if there is no oncoming traffic, they even go over that line to give us an ever-wider safety zone. Often, they smile and wave, and I smile and call out “Thank you.” (I can’t wave because I have a leash in each hand.) Two mornings ago, I was on our unpaved street and the approaching van almost steered off the road to give us extra room. I realized how thankful I am for the drivers that give so much consideration and care for my safety and that of Rosie and Deek.
It’s a little thing, but simply being aware of the many ways I can be grateful each day changes me and changes my environment, even when walking the dogs.

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