Do you think a dog is concerned for his or her safety? Seriously! Dogs endure intense training to guide handicapped humans. But do they actually receive that same quality of training on how to take care of themselves. That is the very reason dog owners must devise ways to safely walk their dog, especially in all types of weather.
One might think a beautiful, sunny day would pose no risks. Alas, however, on delightfully bright days, parks and trails abound with pets! There’s just no where to even lie down under a sprawling shade tree, or relieve the kidneys by a fence post. “Uh-oh, a kid dropped an ice cream cone. I better be the first to lap it up…did any other pet notice?!” My owner takes good care of me by always packing favorite homemade treats. I take care of “business,” get my treat and off we go. She doesn’t expose me to trash.
I can tell when we start off on our journey whether the walk will be an exercise walk or a leisurely stroll. If the expensive walking shoes and arch-supporting socks go on, we are on our way for the fast-paced two mile jaunt. But if the more fashionable “tennies” are donned, a stroll is in order, which means the walk may take longer since we stop to chat and my owner actually has to take a baggie for my “presents” left along the way. Either way, she makes provisions for my needs, as well as my exercise.
When we must go out in the rain, we first put on our rain gear: rain jackets and for my friend, her galoshes. And since my awesome pet owner is rounding the latter part of her life, we help each other on wet days. I can tell if a puddle is too deep, or if water covers a bit of trash that might be slippery, and she can tell if there are chemicals which, if ingested, would cause problems in my digestive tract. She uses my biker studded genuine black leather leash to gently, but firmly, indicate direction around and away from the troublesome area. We walk as quickly as possible using the shortest path, and find our way back to a dry garage and an enormous fluffy towel and hair dryer. For herself, my companion also keeps a change of clothes and shoes in the garage for just such occasions.
During wintry weather other issues come into play. Rain continues to be a problem, but more often than not, it is snow and ice. If the snow is in banks back away from the walking areas and during the day light hours, our times out of the house to stretch our legs and breathe fresh air are fairly uneventful. But, because she is so thoughtful, my lovely caregiver covers my slowly aging body with a lightweight sweater over which I wear a black leather weatherproof jacket. The jacket legs come almost to my feet, and the top has a type of hood that comes up over my head as a bit of protection for my eyes. Of course the most wonderful part is the little hole in the top of the neck allowing for my matching leash; and it is just the right length in the back so there’s no hindrance in that department either. Now if it’s icy conditions we plainly just do not venture out. I just go out through the garage, jump a couple of paces into the snow, quickly take care of relieving myself and just as quickly return to the safe warmth of our home! Sometimes I even receive a little warm milk…whoa!
This, my friend, is an owner to be envied. She insists on making our walks as safe as humanly possible; she knows that although once I received training as a helper dog for the handicapped, I too am experiencing age and health related issues. But regardless of age or health, a pet and his owner need to watch out for each other, enjoying their walks in the safety of each other’s company. And it is always thoughtful to remember yummy homemade treats and “present” baggies.