Keebler loves to visit to Knox Farm. There is a dog park within that is often full of his buddies running and playing together. This park has over six acres of safe, fenced area for dogs to run and play. They provide fresh water and hoses to quench the thirst and wash those muddy mutts when they’ve gotten into the mud holes that dogs just always seem to seek out and find.
Keebler is no exception. In fact, he often will greet his buds briefly and then head on over to the known mud pool and take a good mud bath. My wife will often say, “he’s not getting in my car with that mud!” And so it’s always a refreshing hose down that proceeds the car ride home.
Visiting the dog park Keebler brings him so much joy, something that I would often go out of my way to ensure he gets each week. But Keebler is aging now. He’s over sixteen. Running with his dog friends at the park isn’t something that he can do any more. So it’s simple walks around the neighborhood.
Regardless of whether it’s the dog park or a walk in the neighborhood, it’s not just Keebler who gets the joy out of those moments. It’s me (and my wife when she joins us).
Walking with Keebler brings me so much joy. It’s like I find happiness, joy, contentment, and pure release from the days stress as I spent time outside walking and playing with my boy. I often stop to let him smell now as we walk around the neighborhood. My grandson’s call it “pee-mail”…you know…those spots where dogs leave their messages for each other. Our walks these days are less moving forward as they are “stop and go” moments.
Yet these are still those precious times for me and for Keebler. While he can no longer really run and jump, he can enjoy the fresh air, the “pee mail” and the occasional moments when he bumps into the neighborhood friends. (In our neighborhood, everyone knows “Keebler the Crazy Dog.”)
Time spent walking with dogs lowers stress and anxiety among other wonderful benefits that are well known facts to any dog owner. I like to say to my wife that my dog is my therapist, friend, and mental health medication all in one!
These days, as Keebler is nearing end of life, I cherish the time we have together still, and I remember the fun moments we had playing at the Dog Park at Knox Farm and elsewhere. They are precious memories and moments.
If you find yourself a little overwhelmed by all that is going on in the world today, go get your dog leash and just give it a jingle…your four-legged friend will come running, all full of joy to have the simple opportunity to be with you as you head outdoors for a walk.
Go ahead…grab that leash. You may find that you are the one who comes back with a smile and a refreshed spirit as well as a memory of your time together that can never be taken from you.
And, if you’re like Keebler and me…it is a great time to simply be kind to others that you meet out on the road who may be themselves in need of a happy encounter with you and your four-legged friend.
(PS. The photos above are of Keebler, but from a few years back when he was in his younger years. His body may have aged since then, but his spirit is still so full of the same joy and happiness as ever!)