Outfitted in a black, hooded Patagonia anorak, jeans and high-laced waterproof hiking boots I found myself soaked and not a little miserable after just 20 minutes amidst the horizontal rain that Oregon is so well known for. Even with a hood, I could barely see through my rain-streaked, misted glasses. Ahead of me, tail high and wagging, nose to the ground sniffing vigorously and powerful limbs eagerly plowing ahead is my 11:00 on Wednesdays and Thursdays. She’s a stocky yellow Lab named Moorea and one of the sweetest tempered, most lovable dogs I’ve ever met.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but I’m a dog-walker. This is what I do which is why I was out in this weather in the first place. Still, I got to wondering, something I am apt to do on these dog walks, where was everybody? More specifically, where were all the dogs I usually ran into? Earlier this morning the dog park was a virtual empty lot as well. What happens to these dogs during our seemingly endless days of nasty weather? I began to imagine said dogs stuck inside their respective houses, noses pressed against their misted front windows, curious eyes searching up and down the street, patiently waiting, maybe in vain, for when their master would at last be there to take them for a walk, to their favorite place, dare they believe it, the park.
Ah ha, you counter, but you just admitted to being “miserable” and only there because of said profession. Admittedly, dog-walker/ pet-sitter is my chosen profession and feeling wet and chilled to the bone is not something that I relish ( I am originally from L.A. after all). But let us backtrack to the beginning of my story. There I was, trudging through muddy, water-mired streets… Actually, trudging may not be an appropriate description. Walking at a trot or maybe a brisk jog might be more accurate ( Moorea is very enthusiastic). Once we arrived at our destination I find a stick for us to play with. A tennis ball is completely out of the question as I learned the hard way a long time ago. The last time she got hold of a tennis ball I practically needed the jaws of life to extract it from her clenched grip. But I digress.
These walks are, as her mom informed me just the other day, the one thing she looks forward to. Her joy and exuberance are contagious too. She teaches me, as many of my other furry clients do, to find pleasure and beauty in the simple things in life and for this I am grateful. When we get home, after she charges into the house to her water bowl for some much needed hydration, she immediately comes to me and makes sure she gets her habitual hugs and kisses before I leave. Another important lesson: Give your loved ones a hug a day.