Every athlete - human or canine - sustains an injury at one time or another.
Recently Meadow has had a mild limp, front left. I can't find anything obviously wrong. The limp seems worse on gravel, better on snow. That suggests a slightly torn pad. I've been applying a home remedy for torn or dry pads, provided to me by my trail running friends Jim and Jane. They ran sled dogs years ago. The salve seems to work well.
I, too, am injured. I pulled a hamstring a couple of weekends ago while x/c skiing for the last time this season. It was a relatively warm, sunny day, during a time when nights were well below freezing. This weather pattern meant that x/c tracks under trees and in the shade were icy and fast, while tracks exposed to the sun were slushy and slow. I skied on a fast downhill section, hit a sunny open section, was thrown forward when my skis suddenly slowed, and...pulled a hammy. Ouch.
Every run since then has been painful.
So I walk more than run. If I have to be injured, it might as well be now when Meadow's foreleg is giving her some grief. We can both rest at the same time.
Today - despite being the 10th of April - there was light snow falling while we walked through a new development near home. Then some sunshine. We're now treading mostly on dirt and gravel roads, rather than the snow we enjoyed most of the winter. When we do find snowy sections - side roads the plows skipped during the winter - the girls immediately go into play mode and start chasing and wrestling.
Their delight in being on snow is clearly deeply embedded in their genes.
At the end of one side road there's a circle turnaround. The snow in the middle of this circle has melted and settled into a table. I asked the girls to jump up and pose (top photo). When we walk in sections where the road is bare, Maia will often jump onto the snow berm and walk there if the snow is hard enough to support her weight (middle photo).
We had a perfectly lovely three mile walk. In solitude. I'm sure, in the next year or two, that will change as houses spring up in this development.