On The Trail

Thursday, July 08, 2021 — (In 15 days, July’s fullest moon [“Thunder”] will rise.)

Yesterday, I happily rode horseback in the forest with the dogs. My dogs, borderline arthritics, love running on trails. But this time my smallest, a Mini-Aussie, Louie, seemed to lag as we started out, unusual for a tough little guy who keeps up.

We took a known path that leads toward a very dim path and following it preoccupied me. The horses cooperated and we went about a mile before I noticed Louie missing. That’s never happened and so I sat waiting and calling, but no response.

Often, I discover Osix missing from trails. She just decides to stop running, turns around, and knowing how to get back to our rig goes there to hang out until we return. Sometimes she decides to rejoin us on the trail, knows where, and reappears. She’s worrisome, but knows the trails and has a track record for disappearing and reappearing.

Louie, a twenty-five pound dynamo, is a dedicated trail-runner alongside front-runner, Ranger. Yesterday was his first time missing. I let the horses graze, waited and called, but no Louie. Maybe he returned to the rig, but unable to assess probability I decided to reverse our direction to search for him.

A mile later,he suddenly appeared and was in front leading us toward the trailhead. He seemed alert, not limping, and I attempted to reverse us, to go in the opposite direction. Once again Louie lagged and seemed likely to resume missing.

We continued toward the trailhead and Louie searched ahead for shady spots where he paused and waited for the rest of us. The reality hit me that Louie is getting old, his frame has absorbed many trail miles, and sometimes it seems his hearing has taken a dip.

Ahead, when I hope to ride for miles, Louie should stay home.

In fact, all my aging dogs should run less with horses. Except for quirky Osix, each has leg-joint popping that indicates arthritis. Maybe more limited running keeps Osix’s joints healthy. Going forward, I must decide whether to take dogs and which, or leave the whole lot at home.

This only partly is about dogs, denying their expectations and the activities that give them joy. It’s more about me, having to face missing their activities and companionship on trails. We are in the middle of a sea change.

Dear Friends: Living beings are ticking clocks, regularly calling for assessing and courage. Diana

2 thoughts on “On The Trail

  1. These are tough and important decisions. It was hard when we no longer felt it was wise or kind to keep letting Honey come with us on our rides. She would get out at the TH but not object to staying in the truck. Sounds like Louie might be reaching that point. Honey did well on walks with us though and could keep up just fine. I wish some dogs could stay forever young. I still really miss her. She was my camping buddy, too. So glad I took her with me last summer. ❤️🦮 Did the Robin fly off?

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. You two kindly and thoughtfully have adjusted your habits, and expectations of Honey and Chloe, to signs of their aging physicality, and witnessing has encouraged my awareness. Our vet identifies in all the boys, leg joints with popping sounds associated to arthritis, likely caused by consistent running with horses. Right now, none needs regular meds, all can accommodate foot hikes, and we’ll exercise thoughtfully. (As to the fledgling, it doesn’t fly far. Today’s blog topic.)


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