When we brought Charlie home from the Truro SPCA six years ago, he was an easy going nine-month old puppy. He didn’t chew our favourite shoes, he wasn’t rambunctious and his favourite time of day seemed to be bed-time when he could stretch out at the bottom of our bed. We always just thought that he was a low-energy dog who really didn’t need to be walked or exercised. So, other than the odd stroll on the beach during vacations, we really didn’t take him for walks. And since we live on a hobby farm, we thought we could just throw the door open and he could exercise himself.
It wasn’t until I started hiking for my own benefit and taking Charlie with me, did I realize the impact that a good hour-long romp through the woods had on my dog. Along with the new sleek figure he was developing, I also noticed he was just acting more like a dog!
He got better at sniffing out squirrels, manoeuvring at high speeds through brush and fallen trees, and he even overcame his fear of water and started swimming in the river that winds through our trails. His confidence level was also growing off the trail. His nervous ‘accidents’ all but disappeared and he became less timid of other dogs.
My low-energy mopey mutt has turned into a confident, fit and much happier hound thanks to his new-found love for the trails. So, even on summer days when I would rather avoid those annoying deer flies or the ice that covers the ground in February, I persevere, and head for the woods. It’s so worth it, to see the corners of Charlie’s mouth curl up into what I truly believe is a big smile.