Toby was a mutt who loved to explore. More than once he came home with a nose full of porcupine quills. He got tomato juice baths after encounters with skunks. He fit neatly under the seat of the Suburban and was always ready for a road trip. He loved to sleep in the bottom of my sleeping bag when we camped. On one trip, he was the first to notice a bear ransacking our camp. When I came across a picture of our family with Toby taken in the early 1970s I was shocked to see Toby was on a rope. I loved Toby and I only remember him running free. He ran so free, in fact, that at one point, my parents decided it was time for Toby to live on a farm in the country where he’d have more room to explore.
Today is Day 6 of the GSD 90X Challenge*. I realize that losing 75 pounds may be easier than I expected if I’m not careful. My 75 pound GSD guest is like Toby in that she loves to run and explore. If she were to run free, I’m sure she could find as many dead things to roll in and critters to tussle with as Toby did. If she ran free like he did, she would be so very happy. The only bad thing is her life expectancy would be greatly decreased. If I lost the 75 pounds of pure energy and joy, I’d be in the doghouse.
As much as Toby was a free range dog, I was a free range child. When I lived in Wamic, Oregon my brother and I were constantly exploring and Toby was right there with us. Log trucks barreled through our small town and the three of us never got hit. Looking back, it’s miraculous we survived.
The past two days of the GSD 90X challenge have been about restraint and restriction. Our poor guest has been on a leash or confined to a few rooms. She’s bursting with energy. In the 70s when Toby had too much energy, my dad would have him run behind the car on logging roads. My brother and I would sit on the tailgate and watch his big ears flop up and down as he smiled at us and ran. He loved it unless a critter caught his eye then he’d be off the road and into the woods. More than once, he didn’t return when we called him. He’d eventually made it back home but the heart ache of waiting for him was awful. I’d love to take my current canine up in the woods to run but the risk of losing her is too great for my heart to handle. I can’t imagine telling her kids and mom that I lost her. It would be too hard so she’s staying on a leash and is limited to my speed.
My current rate is 3 miles per hour. According to my research, it’s possible that Bailey’s rate is about 10 times that. I wonder if how much my rate will change by the end of our 90 days together.
**GSD 90X Challenge is German Shepherd Dog 90X (the x should be up a little like an exponent because every thing with GSD can seem exponentially harder). A family I love needed me to foster their dog for 90 days while they find a home that allows dogs (including German Shepherds) before school starts. One side effect having Bailey has been more movement, less time to eat, and more mindfulness.