My two wonderful children are adults. They have their own lives now, and although we keep in touch via phone and email, the distance between our homes does not provide the opportunity for quick, unplanned visits. Enticing “the kids” to visit us on holidays doesn’t take much effort. I promise to cook favorite foods, shower them with gifts (bribes, I guess) and even suggest they should bring friends or animals. The long stretches of time between visits is the only negative of moving from New Jersey. Our daughter prefers the longer drive now since it doesn’t include the NJ Turnpike. I must admit, returning to NJ is a driver’s nightmare. It is also difficult for us to leave or take our pets with us. The old dog, Ferris, is quirky, at best, and would not do well if boarded. It would pull at my heartstrings to leave Bella (the good dog) in anyone else’s care. We have left the cats for a few days with a cat sitter visiting daily and my brother Ray checking in to also socialize with the kitties. Cats are easier to leave behind. They like their humans, but really don’t care who feeds them and cleans their litter pans.
Back to the original thread. Since my hands-on parenting is somewhat limited with my children, the animals get more attention than is probably necessary. They are my kids, too. Ferris now requires almost hourly trips outside to vent his bladder. Bella doesn’t need to go out, but clearly wants to. She dreams of the spring time when we will erect a fence in the back yard for her. A relatively obedient dog, Bella can not be trusted to head into the woods that pretty much surround our property. She is interested in meeting all the wildlife…especially the ‘big dogs’ or Bambi/s. Bella has been known to wake me up in the middle of the night barking at what was probably a passing deer. It amazes me, that even through our pretty airtight new windows, Bella can still smell the scent of deer.
Anyway, all the trips outside do not necessarily provide any aerobic exercise for me or Bella. Ferris moves at a snail’s pace. I can be seen hoisting him into the air (don’t worry, he wears a harness, not a collar) to get him to cover more ground. Apparently the only thing that still works on Ferris is his nose. We stand around a lot while he sniffs. Currently he has become fond of eating snow. I used to walk both dogs at the same time. Now I take them out separately. That is safer, too, since walking my dogs has caused me to lose my footing on more than one occasion. The first time in NJ on a paver patio where I broke my hand. The second time during a visit from the kids during the summer when I became tangled in some vines and seriously damaged my foot.
I remember not long ago in the warmer weather thinking to myself, “it will be winter before long and these easy walks outside will become so difficult.” With recent snow I have had to shovel a path on the lawn to accommodate Ferris and his short legs. Sometimes it takes too much time to get suited up in coat, hat, gloves, boots, etc. Ferris has been known to pee on the rug before we even get outside. If I pause too long on the porch, he will just let it go there, too. As I have previously noted, Ferris is the difficult dog.
In any event, I look forward to the spring months when things grow, the lawn is green and maybe I can get Bella to the park for a real walk. I continue to do at least one sketch a day. Most are animal related, like everything else.