January 16th, 2019
At the start of December, an unexpected opportunity arose that resulted in making trail walks more interesting for Bailey. Each morning, the two of us meet up with my friend and her lab/husky cross dog for a hike through the forest. It is an invigorating stroll because of the cold northern winds and winter temperatures that hover below -30 degrees Celsius. Bailey is not bothered much by the weather like her short-haired pal. Her double-coat is more than warm enough for these temperatures. She waddles along often at a very slow pace while the three of us feel the cool nip. Cas usually conveys his discomfort by lifting his paw up off the frigid ground. Sure she’ll chase him for brief periods. But, he needs to keep moving at a fast pace in order to stay warm. That’s the other issue. Cas has lots of energy to burn off before returning home. If not, my friend must play with him outside in the hopes of tiring Cas out. The last thing that you want to do after hiking for an hour in our harsh climate is to delay going inside. My situation is quite different. Bailey can walk for 10 minutes or an hour and the end result is the same – a morning of napping. Sometimes, she only gets as far as the front entry way before crashing for a well-deserved siesta. It’s was a troubling problem for us.
We decided to try a new approach. My friend and Cas would start 15 minutes before us. They would hike to the place that we call “the rock”, turn around and meet us somewhere between there and the start of the trail. Cas would be warmed up from chasing snowballs and leaping through the snowbanks. It was a wonderful plan. Both dogs were a little confused at first because their buddy didn’t show up as usual. I had to bribe Bailey with treats to entice her to move from the corner where we had met them previously. I guided her across the street to the trail head where she caught her pal’s scent. It was game on. And now a month later, Bailey can’t wait to track down her pal. I’ll get the game going by asking her, “Where’s Cas”. She moves quickly down the trail following his paw prints and p-mails squirted randomly on the sides of the trail. I have found myself challenged to keep up to her while wearing a heavy parka and snow pants. Now, I am the one trailing behind. Her nostrils flare in and out as her nose tries to catch his scent in the air. Suddenly, Cas appears out of thin air much to Bailey’s delight. The treasure hunt has ended. The prize has arrived and a different game begins.