I walk my dog most days.
Usually we walk the fields, but when it’s too wet we take to the
pavement. Barney is a two-year old
English Springer Spaniel. We often call
him Barney Two or B2. We had another
Springer named Barney but that was years ago, a different time and many
When Barney One was with us I could still run. We ran many miles together. And when we lived in Montana, he would go up
into the mountains with me. I would let
him off the leash. But he never ventured
too far away and would come running back when I called him. I always worried that he would run into a mountain
lion someday or maybe even a bear. But
he loved being off the leash whenever possible.
So, I let him run.
But the years and a bad knee have ended my running days. The bad knee has been replaced, but I’m a big
guy and the doctor said it would be best if I did not run on it. I might run if I was being chased or in an emergency. But for exercise it’s down to walking. With some recent back problems, even the walking
is not what it used to be. I reckon it’s
not more than 3 mph and sometimes less. Barney
Two loves the walks, but I know he wants to run or at least walk faster. It’s taken a lot of hard tugs and hard words
to make him quit pulling. But when something
excites him, he still wants to take off.
At times during our walks he looks back at me as if to ask
“Is this the best you can do? Can’t we
just pick up the pace a little bit?” I think he somehow knows that once upon a time I could do better. When we show him old photos of Barney One, I wonder if he knows that we ran together, that I wasn’t always old and slow.
We have a large fenced back yard and Barney will run the
fence line barking at birds in the field or squirrels in the trees. Sometimes when I go out in the yard, he will
run up and jump as if to say, c’mon let’s run. It feels great. Then he will stop and just stand there waiting
for a hug because he knows that’s the best I can do until it’s time for our
walk. But as I hug him, I always tell
him that someday I will run again and that he and Barney One will be running with
me. Just not today.