dog walks at the shelter

veru2_20_19Walks with my canine friends at the shelter continue. There is always a need.

Most of my furry buddies are pretty excited to get out into the snow, delighted to snuffle their noses a bit in the white stuff. They want to chase things down into the bushes, and explore the tracks of those who’ve gone before them. There are actually quite a few birds flitting around in the trees and brush, teasing the dogs with their chirps.

Some of the residents are so incredibly loving and anxious for affection — they are more interested in cuddling or petting than walking. A few are so bruised from their personal histories that they are petrified with fear. It breaks my heart on both ends of the spectrum.

They wear the ghosts of their histories. Just like people, they are each interesting and individual and feeling. I am glad they have a safe, warm, and caring place to be right now, but I am sad for the path that led to their arrival there.

I come away from my shelter walks with a smile, but always feeling blue, too.

be amazed

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I know dogs get all the credit, and I don’t begrudge them that, but when it comes to unconditional love, this dude right here is all over it. Honest to Pete, he’s an angel and a teacher with love from the tips of his ears to the point of his tail. His eyes sparkle with love when he looks into mine. So grateful for this little fella. Just wow.

Hey, happy Winter Solstice all! Be amazed!

autumn kicks in

veru10_12_18a-e1539349051631.jpgWhile Hurricane Michael was devastating the Panhandle, up here in Michigan, Mother Nature was quietly taking the autumn season up a notch.

Temperatures dropped, skies got grey, and winds blustered. Time for jackets and hats and gloves.

I love it. This is my favorite season, and one I have missed for several years. I am so happy to be soaking it in.

Also soaking it in, a delightful dog. As I walked her, she clearly reveled in all the windy activity.  I couldn’t help but laugh as she excitedly attempted to chase down the falling and skittering leaves. The cool air just made her smile.

Those bi-colored eyes of hers searched the world around her with curiosity and joy.  I just love the way she looked high up into the trees and the sky.

Yep, a perfect fall day as far as I’m concerned. Blustery, fresh, beautiful, and a playful Husky with whom to share it.

walking buddies

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Flora bounds out the door, and flies as fast as her little feet can carry her out across the grass. I trot behind her, letting her lead the way. She zooms along like there’s no tomorrow until all of the sudden, wham, she stops on a dime. I know this is coming, so I manage not to run over her.

veru9_4_18dShe looks shyly up at me without moving her head in my direction. I reach down and pick her up, we walk slowly for a few paces while I give her ears a gentle rub and scratch underneath her collar. Then, I set her down, and off she goes again to the races – until the next abrupt stop, where we reprise with more cuddling.

It’s my morning to walk dogs at the animal shelter – always an adventure. I usually walk about four of them in a session. The shelter is lucky to have a beautiful trail out behind it dedicated to the activities of walking and socializing the resident canines.

veru9_4_18cI never know who I’m walking until a staff person brings them around the corner amidst the din of barking and howls from the assembly in the shelter. Some of the dogs I have, sadly, walked many times. There are always newcomers, too.

The dogs run the gamut from the little ones, like Flora, to the bigger ones, like Bailey.

It took me awhile to figure Bailey out just a little. He’s very aloof, seems very uninterested in relating. Then, I discovered that he loves ear rubs. He leans into them, hard. After that, I saw the first flicker of recognition in his eyes – as if he was finally seeing me.

Shasta’s a flipper – he gets so excited to be out and running that he just flips around in circles in the air. Danny loves to bring his bone with him and eventually finds a spot to bury it.

They are all investigators of one sort another. Some are sniffers, meticulously making their way along the edges of the trail to see exactly who’s been here before them. Others don’t seem to care so much about scents, but they are visually very alert.

I’m always both sad and happy when I’m walking the dogs. They’ve each come to the shelter with a history of which I know nothing. It’s easy to see the fear in some of them, the lostness. Others seem impervious to it all. I like to think that they were well-loved before this chapter in their lives, but sometimes it’s hard to convince myself of that.

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Then there’s a dog like Frank, a real character I walked quite a few times. I was delighted when I arrived one day and learned he had been adopted. About a week later, he was back. Thankfully, he did eventually go home to new adopters.

The dogs are all mysteries, carrying whatever baggage they’ve accrued, but they are open and trusting, even if sometimes rather tentative about it. Sentient beings indeed.

We have a lot in common.

I love my dog walks. I love getting outside in the fresh air with them, roaming around the woods on the trail. We see butterflies and snakes, hear the birds calling, feel the sunshine and wind without a fence around. I talk a lot with the dogs, and give them plenty of pets.

I am always so grateful for this time with them. I really hope it helps them and makes them happy, at least for a bit. I know they do that for me.