Here’s one more blog-relevant goal: I’m going to try to be better about responding to comments starting now. I always intend to and often do in my head, but I keep thinking, “I’ll wait until I get back to my laptop,” and then…don’t. Going to try to carve out a bit of time going forward to actually make that happen, now that running up to the office no longer means locking Titus back in his crate as it has for most of the time post-TPLO. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and input so much.
Anyway! Last Saturday Titus and I met up with a group of friends to hike Greeley Ponds from the Kancamagus Highway. I’ve heard wonderful things about this scenic, gently rolling route, but had not quite gotten around to it yet. It turned out to be a perfect fit for a companionable amble with two hikers (one human, one canine) who are coming back from injury.
I waffled all week about whether to bring both dogs. Between Titus’s redeveloping manners, a recent spike in Lilo’s reactivity for reasons not clear to me, and the narrowness of winter trails making it difficult to get out of the way of passersby, 1:1 dog:handler ratio is optimal right now and this trip was originally planned to be Titus’s show. Lilo knows what the pack means, though, and it’s hard to leave her behind. In the end, the weather decided me. -1 degree F at the start is way too cold for this pit bull.
The trail was in great shape aside from one minor blowdown at the start and contrary to this hilarious recent trail report. Heavy use and a recent thaw/freeze cycle had the footpath well-developed. Stepping off did mean postholing and I may have at one point ended up in double postholes above my knees while returning from a bathroom break. Luckily — since Titus was busily trying to steal a mitten from the friend I’d left him with — I managed to free myself without too much trouble!
The little guy did me proud. This was his longest hike since October and second-longest since July(!). 4.4 flat-to-gently-rolling miles seemed like a reasonable next step from his recent adventures (mostly not documented here), but I watched his gait like a hawk and was prepared to turn around in the event of any change. He finished up tired but not noticeably sore. Even more important, he still looked good several hours later when the adrenaline and joy of being out! on! a hike! wore off. And he handled himself beautifully on the trail. We did have to discuss alternatives to pulling like a lunatic early on, as the poor mite was Very Excited (and the other dog with the group was definitely taunting him). Once he grokked the rules, though, he was a joy to hike along with and even demonstrated admirable patience when the group stopped for socialization and snacks.
He was also his usual weird self, of course. Wouldn’t have it any other way!