Last weekend, while Luke was busy doing some boring adult stuff, Patronus and I had the chance to explore a paved trail with my brother. Brandon and I have both been there countless times to walk, bike, and run, but this was Patronus’ first time.
Since Brandon works as a wildlife interpreter in the area, walking the same trail with him that I’ve run on a million times was a whole new experience. I was able to learn about all kinds of plants and animals that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to. Much to my enjoyment, we also managed to snap a couple photos to commemorate the experience.
While we were out there, Patronus got the chance to make friends with a few other dogs and worm some pets out of their owners. A lot of random strangers often want reach their hands over top of him and/or run up and try to hug him, which he is not a fan of. Luckily, this time we mainly ran into fellow dog owners who knew to go for the ear scratches instead!
After finishing the trail, we went to a frozen custard shop called Holy Cow Creamery to refuel our bodies with sundaes. I know that doing this probably isn’t the healthiest option for one’s body, but sometimes enjoying a treat with people you love is good for the soul. (That could just be fat logic talking, but who’s to judge?) If you haven’t been there yet, I would highly recommend it. Their custard, slushies, and ice cream have all been quite good in our experience, and the prices are extremely reasonable. As an added bonus, they are also dog friendly! Patronus even got his very own dog sundae.
Getting Patronus out and about regularly, in the city as well as on trails, is very important me and Luke. In addition to building up his endurance gradually so we can take him on bigger and more exciting adventures in the future, we use this as an opportunity to practice consistent leash manners, work on verbal cues in a more distracting environment, and give him practice interacting with people and other dogs. Consequently, throughout the entire time I was training for my half marathon this spring, basically all of my cross training and recovery workouts have involved going on adventures with Patronus.
Since he’s still pretty young, most of the adventures we have gone on so far haven’t been super long or physically demanding. I do, however, like to approach many of our workouts with an intention. Sometimes I like to cover a slightly longer distance, while other times we might try to go to a place with some hills. Sometimes it’s as simple as walking for a couple of blocks and practicing “heel” and/or “leave it”.
I also like to let him occasionally practice walking with his backpack on. Patronus likes having a job to do, and he loves wearing a backpack. We don’t keep crazy amounts of stuff in it, so I mostly just pack some treats, poop bags, and sometimes a couple of small bottles of water and his collapsible bowl. I also let him carry letters to the mailbox for me when I have a lot of mail to send out.
It can be easy to get “gram envy” (not sure if that’s a thing yet, but I’m making it one) looking at photos of people summiting mountains, standing before canyons, and overlooking vast alpine lakes with their canine companions. After all, those photos are beautiful and the experiences behind them look amazing. The truth is though, while I love to document memories by snapping (and hoarding) dozens of photos of my own, I know deep down that our time together is not a photo contest. Our adventures are our own. Big or small, each adventure is a chance to deepen our bond with our best friend.