Thursday, March 21, 2013

Errand Hike: Downtown Wausau

Charlie waiting for me at the book return.

It's been awhile since we walked downtown. During the holiday months, we frequently walked down the well-lit Third Street to the mall, where Katzenbarkers had a temporary holiday location; Charlie would get to dog-browse the store and I'd buy her a duck foot or bully stick while we were there. But since the pet store closed for the season, we hadn't been back that way.

I figured since I had some library books that needed to be returned and it was still wonderfully light out after work, we'd take a walk downtown and kill two birds with one stone:  return my books and get Charlie's evening walk done!

There's something really rewarding about running your errands on foot and taking your time. I could have just as easily loaded Charlie in the back of the Jeep and drove the mile to the library and been home in 10 minutes.

Instead, we got an hour's worth of exercise, Charlie had a chance to sniff the new smells in the neighborhood, breathe in fresh air, and bond with me while we worked on some leash-training and street-crossing exercises... all the while I talk to her and tell her when she's being a "smart girl" or doing a "good walk" and then reinforcing these words with her dinner kibble in a baggie in my pocket as reward.

We took the deserted River Edge Parkway home and worked on her recall command while off-leash. I alternated leash-time with off-leash time and we splashed our way through some pretty muddy puddles.

I spotted another tiny bird nest in the trees along the Wisconsin River and heard plenty of bird-chirping during our walk... a sure sign of spring!

When we got home, I realized Charlie was WAY too muddy and dirty... time for another bath night! Now I have a clean, fluffy, lavender-smelling puppy and can't wait to snuggle up with her for the night. Sweet dreams...