Shadow counts. Not like a clever horse pawing the ground, but as nature. And she connects me to nature in different ways. When we walk she is scent oriented, sometimes overlooking a deer that is observing us because she is so focused on her nose-to-the-ground. She has an insatiable desire to hunt. She must not be very good at it because she has never brought me any prey, though clearly she is doing her best. When she has escaped the yard she invariably returns covered in poop, which I'm pretty sure instinct tells her to roll in so as to disguise her own scent as she's hunting. In any case, her few escapes have brought her home empty-mouthed. All the time she spent in the backyard before the fence came down surely might have netted her a bunny or a squirrel, but no. Still, at 8 years old and coming up on three full years with me she has, to my knowledge, failed as a huntress. Yet she persists in her vigilance. As a vegetarian who never wanted a dog and only brought her home from the shelter to keep her from being euthanized, I find it a little hard to be linked so closely with this enthusiastic carnivore. Yet I am completely in love with her.
So I have been feeling guilty about not walking with her since Wednesday. A series of events, one involving Shadow (see Woman of a Certain Age blog) left me limping. But our walks have been so wonderful lately that I miss them terribly and I feel awful for her not having the exercise she needs. So yesterday, after finishing up two volunteer projects, I took Shadow to the beach and threw a stick for her. The waves were high and constant and she was in doggy disneyworld. She leapt and frolicked and swam like a dolphin, carried the sticks to shore, ready to do it again and again. She has been so unbelievably patient with me, only occasionally vocalizing her despair at being cooped up, that it was thrilling to see her let loose and fly through the water and over the sand. This is a dog with arthritis in her rear legs but daily walks have apparently made her capable of occasionally frolicking. This morning-after she is showing no signs of ill effects from the romp/swim.
Again, she got me to the beach, to breathe deeply of the good sea air and let any tensions wash out of me. Outtings like this with Shadow are another way in, another way of getting out of my small self and into the larger world. I am so fortunate to be linked to her.
Thriving Together, in Art
1 year ago