joy of the hike

i enjoy hiking. i didn't always know this. when i was younger i was a girl scout. selling girl scout cookies was fun and our troop went on a few overnight camping trips. camping is okay, but i prefer sleeping in my own bed over tenting it. thanks to rufus' need for exercise and the known fact that dogs need to relieve themselves outdoors, we strive to get in at least two or three walks a day or a nice long walk or hike in a park. this past winter, josh and rufus showed me a beautiful trail that starts in our development and leads to the local shopping centre. our destination was a local coffee shop for a much needed java jolt. the trail was beautiful as we trudged our way through the snow. we walked down a small hill taking in the blaring whiteness that coated the twigs, branches and ground. i took pictures along the way to remember that even in the winter, nature is still beautiful. josh and rufus jumped over a narrow babbling creek. i followed and embraced the beauty and joy of the hike that surrounded us.

today even though the sky is gray, the weather is mild. we decided this morning to take the neighborhood trail for our coffee. the greenery on the trail was lovely; a gorgeous purple flower vine twisted its way along the ground. the trail wasn't very muddy. rufus was so happy to sniff the ground, the trees, the brush, the everything that was only a month or two ago covered in snow. josh and i shared some laughs and interesting stories from the week. i took pictures of the greenery, the beauty of springtime nature. we neared the end of the trail ducking our heads under a curved branch. we parted the dangling branches of a weeping willow tree and headed for our coffee with rufus at our side.

who depends on you & who do you depend on?

we have a mouse in our house. no, this isn't an "ode to dr. seuss." and yes there's already a mouse trap set and ready for mr. mouse. i'm sure he'll be caught soon, no need to worry or be creeped out for us. after i discovered mr. mouse's trail, i wondered how dependent he's been on the house. i've been cleaning the house today and getting various chores done. when i work i try to stay focused on completing the project. sometimes i forget to eat or forget to take a break if i'm feeling tired. seeing the evidence of mr. mouse reminded me how dependent rufus is on me and josh. he depends on us for food, for exercise, for love, for play time, to forgive him and to reward him.

who depends on you? who do you depend on? dependence has different meanings to different people. dependence can mean needing a substance, relying on a person or thing to do something you need. some people see dependence as something negative. people want to be self sufficient and independent. they'd rather do things for themselves than rely on others. we've had rufus for about 2.5 months. prior to rufus i'd do my chores and probably not break for a walk outside or i wouldn't eat until i was starving. as i do my chores i hear rufus follow me to do laundry, he brings me a toy to play fetch with him and he reminds me how much he depends on me.

we depend on each other for different reasons. i depend on josh and rufus. josh is my amazing partner. he listens, he comforts, he cares, he is supportive, he's fun and funny, loving and understanding. he learned a while ago that i'm interested in hearing about his day and that i care about what time he'll be home. i depend on rufus for a love that is unconditional. for laughter that doesn't have to make sense, for a sense of loving concern that family members show each other.

josh has a great reminder on his blog. progress, one progression at a time. we are all a work in progress and we all depend on each other in some way. don't forget who depends on you and who you depend on too.

the reminder to be present

the beginning of this week brought some challenges; some opportunities for growth and the gift of renewed joy. wednesday's walk around the neighborhood started with me going through the physical motions but not really being mentally or visually present. we rounded a corner and i was surprised with the gift of laughter and joy. we were passing a neighbor's fenced yard and two chihuahuas barked as ferociously as they could at rufus and me. their barking and attempts to be big vicious dogs was adorable. i know there are some people who love chihuahuas (like my middle brother) and others (*cough* like josh) may think they bark too much for an animal of their size. these two big barkers made me laugh and smile- a gift much needed after two days of not being myself. i embraced the moment. i had rufus sit and we watched the little ones. i let myself laugh loudly and i enjoyed the laughter those dogs gave me. it was a perfectly timed reminder to be present.

today on our morning walk i was present. the air was chilly but the sunlight wonderful. rufus happily sniffed the grass. In his new stylish harness that we got after reading pet product reviews one afternoon, yes we are pet nerds. we rounded a corner and i was so present enjoying the scenery, that rufus and i were surprised by the sudden barking of a neighborhood black lab. the dog jumped on his fence and barked a slightly aggressive "notice me!" rufus and i were startled but i smiled and was grateful i was fully present. this weekend there will be a wonderful staycation. this morning rufus watched josh put his rawhide bones in a bag. he was so curious about why the bones were put in the bag, he kept sniffing the bag and general area of where he knows his treats are. there will be bubble baths, swimming, and wonderful time with my family...and i will be fully present for every moment.


light & blades of grass

we turned the corner on our walk and we faced warm rays of sunlight. not the kind that hurts the eyes. we greeted this light. we returned home & i missed the beautiful rich sunshine. it told me to embrace the day, to invite nature into my soul.

we'd been home for twenty minutes; i was watching the morning news & rufus wanted to play or just do something. he was bored so we walked outside. his nose twitched absorbing various scents. i watched his head move every direction as though each new sound was meant solely for him. i smiled at his contagious joy of just listening.

today it rained... a few times. on our late morning walk rufus didn't seem too over excited about the smell of the grass or how the usual scents of the earth had been changed. on our most recent walk, however, his nose knew instantly that the ground smelled different. the usual ground smells were now magnified.  with each mailbox we passed, he would lurch forward in a slightly forceful manner to insist he investigate the area. the lush green patches amazed him. he examined and sniffed the blades of grass that were greener from the rainfall. i couldn't help but chuckle at his wonder and curiosity. i felt as though i was an investigator with my search dog, who was hot on the case.



rufus mommy days

thursday, 3/15/12, 8:00am

it's slightly chilly out, i'm thinking low 40s. today is a rufus mommy day. rufus is delighted as he won't be spending much time in his crate. on a typical week day i wake up at 6am, head downstairs to greet josh, rufus, and my cup of coffee. i try to be showered and dressed by 6:45 and then take rufus for a second pre-breakfast walk between 7:30 and 7:45. afterwards i try to catch some of the Today Show while rufus and i hang out a little longer. before i leave the house, rufus gets 1/2 his breakfast in his bowl and he gets his day snack kong. i put both in his crate along with some of his stuffed animal friends. i ziptie his crate shut for his safety and i send him kisses and tell him when mom and dad will be home. then i head out to my day and miss him until my return.

on rufus mommy days we take extended morning walks. he can tell i'm not in a rush to get home. we have a park visit and sometimes a visit with family. on these days i'm grateful for the time we spend together and that i don't have to see his sad face when he goes into the crate. we can play, he reminds me to laugh and enjoy  our shared simple joy of being alive. i love rufus mommy days... and he just wagged his tail in agreement.

spring time & i didn’t realize

the air is fresh. the forecast says the temperature will reach the mid 60s today. i close my eyes and hear birds chirping, sharing their excitement of spring with one another. rufus is at my side and is so excited to get his nose up close to a street sign's pole without snow being in the way. i feel a tug on the leash; "rufus on the case,"  josh and i say when rufus is fascinated by what he smells. most people's favorite season is autumn. the sights: pumpkins, scare crows, apple orchards, halloween. the smells: autumn leaves, freshly mulled apple cider, a crispness in the air, the well-known family feast in november.  My favorite season is spring followed closely by summer. spring time: new life, fresh air, spring cleaning, dogs with their owners jogging, walking, playing. people spend more time out walking and riding bikes. i'm so excited for rufus' first spring with us. we'll play fetch. we'll run. we'll rollerblade and explore trails in local parks.


i didn't realize how strong the human/canine bond can be. i didn't realize he'd find me wherever i am. i didn't realize he'd race josh to greet me when i arrive home. i didn't realize i'd laugh so hard at something so simple or an act i usually perform and take for granted. i didn't realize the power of forgiveness: we didn't like that carpet anyway. today's a new day. i'm still your mom, you're still our son. i love you, we'll always be a family. i realize now, the strength of our bond.