Saturday, July 13, 2013

Walking in the Rain: Welcome Summertime Break for Man and Dawg Alike

Walking in the middle of summer can be tough on both a veteran dog-walker and his faithful dog. When we first moved here from the Virginia mountains, Sadie and I would take a second walk after nightfall, as late as 10 p.m., and I would come back with my t-shirt completely soaked in sweat.

This summer has brought drenching of a different kind -- from off-and-on tropical showers. We had a spell of 12 straight days of widespread showers. This weekend, we had a low pressure system move in from the west awakening us with thunderstorms and torrential rains, and now we have the remnants of Tropical Storm-turned-Depression-turned-Wave Chantal bringing in some pretty heavy showers off the ocean.
Sometimes we head out with clouds on the horizon, knowing that we might get wet before we return. This morning we set out under angry dark clouds knowing full well that we would be thoroughly soaked. Realizing that, I left my wallet behind so my ID cards wouldn't be damaged.  Sure enough, it rained harder and harder the farther we walked. We saw a snowy egret -- it wasn't perturbed. We saw ducks on the pond -- they weren't ruffled. And Sadie and I were good with the drenching, too. It felt refreshing in the middle of July -- it generated the liberating vibes urban kids must get from running through open fire hydrants on sweltering days.

After the long, wet walk came a whole afternoon of mall-walking to support The Missus in her shopping. I made the long walk to Starbucks, of course, but then also made two lengthy hikes to the car to store her purchases in the trunk and then back into the mall. All in all, I must have walked at least a mile in the mall on top of 1.5 miles in the rain. So just three months after total knee replacement surgery, the bionic knee passed another test. It is due for icing tonight.

As for Sadie in the rain, she blinks her eyes pitifully when I try to put her in the backyard to do her business during a rainstorm, but she is better with the task when I come outside with her. And she seems to have no reservations whatever about the two of us talking a long walk in the rain (as long as there is no thunder, which terrifies her).

Interestingly enough, I Googled this topic and found lengthy Internet discussions as to whether one should walk a dog in the rain. One writer actually suggested holding an umbrella over your dog, or buying a doggie raincoat, or purchasing a pet umbrella (attachable to the dog's collar, somehow), or even getting your dog fashionable rain boots.

Come on now, get serious, dog lovers! Maybe those resorts would work with some of the prissy-britches pooches you see on the dog shows, but Superdawg is part yellow lab and part golden retriever -- breeds that take to water like, well, dogs retrieving ducks. She used to enjoy splashing in the ocean in her younger days. A little rain is not an issue as long as there is some nice toweling-off and dog treats at the end of it. If we can keep getting periodic rain showers throughout the rest of July and August, Superdawg and I will be happy as clams. And neither one of us will be investing in slickers or boots or bumbershoots.

                              ©  Robert G. Holland

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