The dogs help me. They make me go out at least twice a day, and due to the nature of their breeds, they need long walks to keep them from going mental.
Luckily, at 10 and 10+ years of age, they are slowing down a bit so I can keep up with them. Were they younger, I'd never be able to walk them enough!
Our new community has several trails, lots of roads and open spaces, and a large, underutilized dog park.
- Dogs: Naturally, there are other dogs all around us. Tucker is very friendly, but aggressively enthusiastic in his greetings, which is a bit off-putting for some dogs. Gypsy is very watchful of her younger brother, and wades in with her teeth barred and a bark that is definitely worse than the bite, if she feels things are getting out of control with all of the sniffing and wagging going on. So I assume a straddle-armed stance trying to let Tucker visit, and hold Gypsy back, and not let the dogs and leashes become entangled. It's awkward. It's physically taxing. I avoid it. Most often if I see another dog we change our course.
- Food: Gypsy manages to find, and scarf up, every scrap of food that has been dropped by anyone along the sidewalk, in the middle of the road, and as we pass construction sites (we are living in a new and growing community. The homes pop up like mushrooms after a rainstorm, even with Covid-19.) Gypsy especially loves construction sites! The workers drop all manner of yummy things on the ground. Especially bones; ribs and chicken wings and legs. Oh my! We get into quite a struggle as I work to pry Gypsy's mouth open and dislodge and remove the bone. Then, while I'm involved in that battle, Tucker usually has the time to find one for himself, and I enter into another battle. Before the virus shut things down, our community had "Food Truck Friday". Over a dozen food trucks would park around our central square and folks from near and far would arrive to indulge in a great variety of food choices. Naturally, some of this food found its way to the ground. Gypsy took it upon herself to be the official DFCU: "dropped food cleaner upper" in the community. She loved taking late walks on Friday, or cleaning up on Saturday morning, and can't wait for this event to begin again.
- Scents: I wish I could wire the dogs' brains so that I could see what it is that they smell. I especially love to watch them when they catch a scent in the air. Neither dog is much on tracking scent, but on occasion I have been encouraged to keep up with them as they swiftly follow a trail.
- People: Tucker is the unofficial people greeter in our community. He talks to everybody. Some folks even talk back to him. He loves that most of all!
- Critters: Tonight it was a rat. As we turned the corner on the trail, he was gathering up some sort of something in the middle of the trail. He scampered away. We see bunnies. The dogs used to chase bunnies in our yard in Colorado. The marsh bunnies here are better at freezing, and we can often walk right by them. There was the morning of the alligator:
|Can I go for a walk with you?|
|Newly created wetlands. They were dry when I saw the gator.|
We have also had a few run-ins with pigs. Yes, we have wild pigs in the area! Of all the critters we have encountered in our years of walking, I think the pigs evoke the greatest reaction from the dogs. They go nuts! I didn't have time to take pictures on the three encounters we have had. Once it was a piglet running in the scrub next to us. I'm sure the rest of the family was nearby. Another time a group dashed away from us in the brush. The third time I came around a corner to find 4 or 5 piglets and about that number of adults rooting in freshly turned earth in the wetland development area. I was thankful they were more afraid of me and turned hastily to leave. The pictures I have included are from the Babcock Ranch Eco Tour which is about 5 miles from our home. I have to say they are kinda cute, at least from a safe distance! And heck, these lands are their home. We encroached on them!