Karlie and I took an adventure at least once a week for the last three years of her life. Sometimes my husband, Art, joined us, but often it was just the two of us. Although we took Anna and Karlie to the beach, lake, and kayaking frequently, we did not often take them on other adventures. The weekly canine adventures started after we said goodbye to Anna, in an effort to keep us busy and to help not miss Anna so much.
So what is an adventure? It is any outing that may interest your dog. For us it was outings to canyons and parks to hike, trips to nurseries or home improvement stores to wander around, excursions to the beach to walk on the sand and play in the water, trips to the lake and ocean to kayak, long walks to the library to drop off books or along the coast, and trips to coffee shops for puppucinos. As we took more adventures, I started to see what Karlie liked the best and focused on that.
What Makes a Good Adventure?
Karlie enjoyed any time she was with us, but there were places and activities she enjoyed more than others. Over time we developed specific criteria for a good adventure, which included:
- Dog friendly.
- An hour or less away; who wants to spend time in a car when you can be out on a trail, at the beach, or someplace having fun?
- Water that is accessible. Karlie loved to put her toes in the water, so just a view of the water would not do.
- Dirt trails for hiking was always better than concrete or asphalt.
- Hilly trails for some billy-goating.
- Good parking and portable-potties. This one didn’t matter to Karlie, but it did to me.
To identify parks, trails, walking paths, and other outdoor areas, I spent a lot of time on the internet. I liked to use google maps to find parks and trails and then google their names to find out about them. Not all were good for an adventure, but I found a lot of places I otherwise would never have known about.
Benefit of Canine Adventures
A funny thing happened as a result of taking Karlie on adventures. What started as a way to keep busy and not miss Anna, turned into physical therapy and something to look forward to as her geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis polyneuropathy (GOLPP) progressed. The adventures gave her something interesting to do and a reason to keep moving and adapt to the changes in her mobility. She didn’t let it get her down and was willing to try anything I came up with. She eventually used a rear-wheel wheelchair and we took this on many trails and even on the beach. Nothing was going to stop her from going on her adventure. I truly believe going on adventures helped her overcome GOLPP for as long as she did.
Even if your dog does not have a disease like GOLPP, they likely will enjoy going on adventures. It’s a great form of enrichment. Although taking walks is wonderful exercise, it gets boring to walk on the same sidewalks and areas. Consider finding a park, trail, or some place else to take your dog on canine adventures on a weekly basis.