Wonderful Reminders on a Beautiful Day

I may be at risk of sounding like a broken record here. So bear with me.

When my mother passed away late last year, I was ready to give up everything. Ready to pack it all up and move on. I was able to power through and slowly got out of my head long enough to appreciate all the love and wonderful things around me. Slowly, I was able to remember my practices in Presence and appreciate the moments I had during my days with the dogs. Emphasis on the slowly. It honestly took me a while to enjoy my work again. But I'm thankful that I could, or days like the one I'm about to describe wouldn't have happened.

I started my day with my morning private walk with Mr. Scout and Mr. Charlie. We had a super nice focused walk down to the local engineered wetland area in their neighbourhood. I love going down to those areas to see and listen to the birds that may be hanging around - I find it has a grounding effect and it reminds me of my lovely mother.

I've been experimenting with the best morning pick-up route for the AM pack walk the past couple of weeks. Our newest pack addition - Puppy Megs - gets a little car sick on the longer rides (hoping she will grow out of it soon!) so I've been playing around with the best route to be able to switch up our walk locations while still being sensitive to Megs' total car time. This day, I picked Signal Hill as our walk location. There is a long pathway that runs along Sarcee Trail. I like walking here for a few reasons:

1. It's long so we can really get into a good walking groove without too many distractions. and

2. They've built a Poppy Memorial garden along the pathway. The poppies are mostly done blooming (still a few red stragglers around), but I appreciate the reminder I get whenever I see the garden. My mother was an avid gardener in her day, so it's nice to see memorials like this one in their full bloom.

Our walk was fabulous. All of us (me and the pack) were focused and calm. We went for long stretched without needing to stop for any reason and got into a really great groove (this is quite an amazing feat when working with a puppy!). That is the part of the walk that I really live for and cherish. We saw other dogs that started barking at us from a distance, but we were so focused that we just kept calmly moving forward with only a glance.

For my afternoon walk, I decided that I had enough time to try out a different pick-up route that I've been thinking about for a few days but didn't feel I had the extra wiggle room to try out. Instead of ending the pick-ups and walking in the deep south, we ended them right around South Glenmore Park. One of my absolute favourite walking areas is right around there. This day, I parked at the south Weasel head parking lot and walked south for 10min to the off-leash park.

My Friday afternoon pack has some really great dogs in it - and believe me, I cherish my Friday afternoons. Not only is it just a great group of dogs, but an absolutely fun, calm, and playful group to have as the last walk in the week.

We have: Best friends Scout and Chewie, wonderfully playful Rooney, cool and collected Meeko (except for when she gets her rare case of on-leash zoomies, then she's hilarious), stoic Loki, and happier than a pig in sh*t Finn. This particular day we were missing our nervous nellie and second Weimaraner Wilson, but we added Miss Sniffing Savannah.

As promised, this pack was beautiful to walk on this particular day. We had a great on-leash, lots of fun playtime as well as working on our focused off-leash heeling walking. This particular park that we go to has a really beautiful forested corridor that seems to be designed for my pack! The corridor (at this point anyway - we will see what happens when the ring road construction is done) runs along the native reserve, so on the other side of the fence is wilderness. Again, I am reminded of all the day hikes that I've done with my mother over the years, the last one we did where I carted around a few dogs too!

Another win for this afternoon was that my new pick up route working beautifully. Not too much extra time, and allowed us to walk in one of my favourite areas.

Days like this one really reminds me of how privileged I am to do what I do while giving me loving reminders of loved ones lost. It inspires me to do and be better, to learn more, to work harder and to be present for these moments - because if I'm not, then I just missed out.

Until next time, happy trails

Holly, Duke and Jax

In Memory of Ann Kyle