Trail Blazing

June 6th, 2018

I found myself doing something that was never part of my dog ownership vision.  Like many wannabe dog owners, I thought of what having a Newfoundland dog would mean for our family.  It meant providing medical care, nutritional meals, regular exercise, grooming, training and lots of attention to name a few.  What I didn’t expect was to be trail blazing on a Tuesday morning at 6:35 am.  And yet, there I was with a pair of clippers in hand, trimming back brush.  Bailey enjoys early morning walks on the trail system located across the street from my house.  It is not a trail maintained by our Town.  With spring thrust upon us, the snow has almost melted.  Happily, we ditched our street walking and returned to the solitude of nature.  The trails are still wet in places but, can usually be circumvented by detouring through the bush lining the sides.  One particular spot near the start of the trail is covered in deep mud for about 7 feet.  We avoid the mess by taking a slightly worn moss path to the right.  The weedy shrubs as I like to call them have become more overgrown than they were last year.  As much as my friend and I try to prevent them from swatting the dog or person behind, our attempts often end in failure.

Our main concern was that one of the dogs would get a sharp end in the eye.  The sting of a springy twig and the possibility of ripping our outerwear added to this concern.  We had complained about the situation to one another throughout the previous summer.  However, I never could remember to bring the cutters to trim the bushes.  The presence of black flies provided further discouragement.  In addition, I had ripped my expensive waterproof pants last year within a week of getting them.  The situation was aggravating to say the least.  It was time for action.  Black fly season would be in full swing by the weekend with warmer temperatures and wet weather on the way.

Although my pants had two patches on them, I decided not to add a third one. I wrapped the cutters in one of Bailey’s drool rags before packing it in my waist bag filled with treats and poop bags.  We were ready to meet our friends.  The four of us hiked until we reached the detour.  The dogs patiently waited with my friend.  It was a remarkable feat given the number of rabbits, squirrels and birds that lived in the area.  I began to tackle the offending twigs.  Bit by bit, our single file path over the cushy moss became more open.  It was hard work for me to be performing with only a cup of coffee for energy.  The dogs seemed to know that the trail was being improved for them.  The work was finally done.  The four of us resumed hiking under blue skies and the warmth of the sun.  The way back was more pleasant as we were no longer bothered by pesky twigs impeding our movement.  I look forward to a summer of forging ahead with Bailey at my side.

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