Shelby, Phoebe, and Baxter

Last evening I had a decision to make. I was at home, finally, after working for 10 hours. There was much to be done. Things to clean, things to put away, preparations for the next day. But I looked at these eager faces, smiling at me and ready for whatever attention I would give them. So what did I choose to do? I loaded these three up in the car and we went for a long walk.

West BranchWest Branch

We went to West Branch State Park which is about 10 minutes from our house here in northeastern Ohio. This is the beauty that greeted us as we began our walk. This was a heck of a lot better than cleaning!


And I got to spend it with these three beautiful faces. I think that I chose wisely. One of the reasons that I like to walk here, aside from the beautiful scenery, is that I can let the dogs walk off leash if there are not too many other people around. The dogs know they are given a privilege and prance so proudly to know that I have unhooked their leashes and trust them to stay with me. Occasionally we encounter other walkers or bicyclers and I briefly leash the dogs back up until they pass. Not so much because of the dogs but because I don’t want the other people who are out enjoying their evening to be afraid. I want to be a good steward of the trail so that dogs will continue to be welcome. Baxter, in particular, gets much more exercise when he is off lead. He runs 20 feet or so ahead and circles back behind and continues to make this loop as we walk so he can monitor and sniff the area. He walks much farther than the rest of us with his loping circuits of the path. Baxter’s behavior is excellent when he is loose. When we see someone approaching, I can just tell him “over here” and point to where I want him to walk and he will stay next to me until the person passes. He is very reliable on this and I can tell that he understands because he keeps looking up at me and communicating “I’ve got this mom”. I will leash him up if I think he will make the other people nervous when they pass. Shelby and Phoebe I do usually leash up because there is an even chance that they will go up the person and demand to be petted. This might be intimidating for someone who doesn’t know them.

West BranchWest Branch

As we go about our walk I notice that the landscape is really quite impressive. It is a calm evening so it is quiet. One of the sounds that I do hear and love is the sound of the waves on the water. This, I thought, is not so far removed from the views I love to see when I go to Maine.  Each place has it’s own beauty if you are able to see it.

West Branch

Life is good. There is beauty to behold and I am able to see it in the company of three of my dogs. It doesn’t get much better.

West Branch Sunset

By now it is sunset and we close out the evening with this last view. Earlier I had a choice to make of how to spend my evening. I think that I chose wisely. This is an experience that I will remember fondly.

End of the Evening

And although it was getting dark by the time we got back to the car, you can see by these happy faces that they also think that I have chosen wisely. Let the adventures continue!