Before spending most days in front of the computer (or a book, or a computer and a book, or some data), I like to start our day at the park. I do this more in the summer, because of time, but tend to take the pups at least once a week and sometimes most days. There is something fundamentally good about starting your day moving by the green plants, chirping birds, happy dogs, and listening to your own thoughts. For Rudy (pictured above) and Daisy (pictured below), the park, next to home, is their favorite place. They get to be dogs here. They run. They sniff. They bark. They chase. They roll in gross things. They meet new and interesting dogs. They (mostly Daisy) catch frogs, voles, and other assorted creatures. They move freely and make their own dog choices about what do next. My general rule is to only bother them when I think they are about to get in trouble (mostly Daisy).
It is difficult to see, but the small flash of white by the fence is Daisy, moving along a “dog trail.” The park has people trails (used by people and dogs) and sprouting sometimes off the people trails (and often into the water) are dog trails. They tend to be smaller in width and often include a path that goes where people might not (like under the tree pictured here).
The park is seeing some upgrades. This is one of my favorites. While I could make it across on rocks (even Henry could, actually); this is safer. I did have to teach the dogs how to use the crossing. As you can see from the picture, the dogs often have their own ideas about how to get across. Both pups like splashing and sometimes swimming in the water.
When I lived by the park, I often saw yapping excited dogs going into the park, and contented, worn out dogs coming out. I am not sure if it is the exercise, the nature, being with the pups, some combination of that, or what, but it brings me a lot of contentment too. Now that Henry is old enough to come to the park and enjoy it too, he likes to go some mornings before school. There is something really good about walking through nature as a pack. It is good bonding time.