The hardest part of living where we do is the lack of safe, off leash areas within walking distance. In Halifax, Shiva was accustomed to running without restraint six days out of seven. We took our isolated forests for granted, never thinking that one day we’d be relegated to paths – or worse – residential sidewalks, for the majority of our adventures. Edmonton is a city filled with dog parks of numerous sizes and the largest continuous green space in North America. Once the trail system is connected by all seven municipalities along the North Saskatchewan River, the resulting 88 kilometres of park will be the largest in the world.
Too bad designated off leash areas don’t make up very much of this space.
I don’t want to whine. Shiva and I have it pretty good. The ravine is a beautiful place to walk in all seasons and there are numerous leash free zones within driving distance.
Too bad driving is my greatest fear in all of fearland. Getting over that will take a lifetime.
No doubt there are dogs who have it much worse. Some dogs who live in the inner city, for instance, may never know what it is like to scrawl up a cliff side or chase a porcupine up a tree. Running without a leash is a privilege, not a right. Shiva can be just as satisfied without it.
I’d like to believe so. The part of me that is still grieving for the confidence I had before Shiva’s autumn injury, likes to think she can be just as happy if she never runs free again. However, the part of me that sees how much she has slowed down since our Halifax days worries just as much.
I have to face it. Shiva is not as fast as she used to be pre-injury and pre-Edmonton. She still looks good but I know her levels of physical fitness have declined. She grows tired much faster and she’d never be able to keep up with her old Vizsla agility pal any more. It makes me feel terrible, like I have failed her once again.
A Shiva isn’t a Shiva unless she gets to run. Speed is something that has always defined her. She used to be the dog park fitness guru, the one who stirred all the other dogs into action. She is the instigator, the bratface, the tornado.
It isn’t that she isn’t still these things sometimes, her twister-like behaviour has not gone away even on our more relaxed strolls, but there is a noticeable change in her energy. It could be age, that’s true, but it isn’t that simple either.
Maybe it is okay if she isn’t the roadster she used to be. Our lifestyles have changed and she doesn’t seem to be suffering for it in any emotional sense. But I worry. I don’t miss the stress of handling a crazy demon but I do miss the fun. I can’t help but wonder if she misses it too.