Otto and I have our morning ritual – sometimes it starts at 6:30 am, and I’m not a fan of when it starts at 4am. We do our morning stroll, so that Otto can stretch and do his business, and we get some fresh air and exercise.
Some days this goes very smoothly, and other days not so much. For example, on trash day, Otto is like a four year old in a candy store….he has to sniff around each and every trash can, so a 30-minute walk becomes a 90-minute walk. I’ve also noticed that Otto figured out a new way to mess with me…..he purposely walks on the opposite side of the hand holding the leash, forcing me to constantly switch hands, or spin around like a top!
I’ve noticed that I’ve started coming up with nicknames for Otto when he starts to annoy me sometimes during our walks – I never call him a name with any curse words, but some of the names that have popped in my head have made me laugh out loud, much to the amusement of my neighbors! Otto has his “psych out” move, and it’s the one he does when it’s either raining (like this morning) or it’s frigidly cold. He’ll sniff around and almost get in his squatting position, and then he’ll just change his mind….he did this in the pouring rain this morning, and I loudly said to him “Hey! Today, Little Lord Fauntleroy!!” Little Lord Fauntleroy?? I usually say “Your Highness” or “Skipper” or “Sparky”….perhaps “Prince Valiant” could be a new one?
As Great Pyranees dogs are instinctively protective, Otto will bark at anything or anyone that he perceives to be a threat. Sadly, this also includes squirrels that dart down the trees at 6:30 am, much to the chagrin of the neighborhood. Yet I keep thinking that when I say “Pipe down!” to Otto when he goes into his barking rant, he’ll instantly stop because I said so…..as if!!
It’s very easy to see which dogs are well trained in their morning routine compared to the dogs who are not. The owners faces usually say it all. After being outside for well over an hour this morning waiting for Otto to take care of his business, I came across two other owners out with their dogs who had been out there just as long (or longer) than I was. As we all stood there soaking wet, our three dogs tangled up in each other’s leashes, none of them ready to go inside, I looked at the other two guys who were also soaked through the skin, and we just started laughing. I think we all knew that this was one of those moments that comes with the territory.
To dog owners and dog walkers everywhere, I salute you. We love our pets, and we cherish just about every moment that we have with them. Through sleet, rain, cold or snow, we will always have our morning walks.
And we’ll get through them one step at a time.