Two Dog Walk - The Old Ladies Shuffle

Several days ago, I brought both girls for a stroll along the beach. Maia's knee was better and she was eager to go on a longer walk. I had my iPhone for photos. Good thing; within a day or two, the weather turned to the usual Thanksgiving Week deluge of rain with wind gusts to make sure the leaves and off the trees and on the ground, clogging storm drains, ensuring flooding. Even though the official start of winter is still nearly a month away, it has arrived in Seattle.

The girls pose on the park's new compass.

Filtered sunset.
One of the nice features of the Juanita Beach Park's renovation is a new wetland section on the west end. They're provided some areas for Juanita Creek to overflow and sustain a bird sanctuary. Some felled trees were "replanted" - like telephone poles with spindly arms offering praise to the clouds - to provide nesting and roosting.

The girls reluctantly pose in the new wetland area.

Impatient dogs.
I struggle daily with the logistics of exercising two aging dogs. For most of their lives - indeed, all of Meadow's life - the girls have been companions for each other as well as me on our daily runs and walks. When running trails with me, we had our off leash formation: Maia in the lead, then me, then Meadow bringing up the rear. The Malamute Sandwich. On in-town walks and runs, they always worked well together on the leash coupler, Maia always on the left. 

But now Maia suffers with a stiff knee if she walks more than a mile or so. Meadow could easily enjoy a three mile walk on a daily basis. Neither likes being left behind. If I take only Maia, Meadow howls in the house for several minutes. If I take only Meadow, Maia barks in an unhappy high-pitched way. For now, the compromise is usually this: I take them both for a short walk, maybe a block, maybe a half mile to a mile depending on Maia's knee, then take Maia back to the house before continuing on with Meadow. Maia barks less this way. Meadow - after the first few times we did this - no longer tries to tell me we've forgotten someone and need to return to the house to get her. In fact, Meadow seems to thrive on her alone walks, moving with a bouncier step, no longer constrained by Maia's tugs on the coupler to keep her in line.

This is a hard, hard time for me. The girls' aging process is gaining speed on that downward side of the bell curve that is a dog's short life. 

I savor every Old Ladies Shuffle Walk that we three take together.
Rebecca WallickComment