Recently, I've been trying to think of ways to spend more time with Maus. Maus has recently reached the point where he appreciates leaving the house every once in a while, but there are a limited number of activities out there that we both like doing. Maus will gladly tag along to obedience and rally classes, and he makes an excellent (if rather bored) decoy dog for reactive classes, but these are very me-driven activities. They are not the sort of things Maus would chose to do for fun. In the same vein, Maus loves tracking and nose work, but I have trouble staying awake for those.
We've recently found a middle ground, though. Last May, I bought the book 60 Hikes in 60 Miles and then promptly busted up my knee. While my knee is still not in great shape, I think it’s about time I pulled that book off the shelf and got walking, and Maus seems like the perfect candidate to bring along on day trips: he walks well on a leash, it non-reactive to other dogs, and he thinks nature is fascinating (and maybe a little horrifying sometimes). As a goal, I've decided that we will do ten hikes from the book in the next seven month – so by the end of 2013. That means a little more than one hike per month, which sounds easy except that I have five dogs, three day jobs, and a husband in there somewhere, and each of the hikes will end up being at least half a day’s commitment.
We kicked off our Ten Hikes goal with one of my favorites: Willow River State Park in Wisconsin. I practically grew up in this park, and I adore it. Maus and I took our friends Crystal and Maisy out to see the water fall, and we couldn't have asked for a nicer day, particularly considering that just last week we got eight inches of snow.
So here's to starting on a good note!