a field trip with Phoebe

I found this quote a few weeks ago and it made me curious…

Ever wonder where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash? ~Robert Brault

Living in a city neighborhood this is a practical impossiblity. Too much traffic, too many other dogs, and lots of little kids. Let’s face it, my dog’s size can be intimidating. What if I could try this somewhere else? Somewhere less crowded during this time of year.

Phoebe loves the car! Whenever we begin our walk to the park she always stops by the car…just in case. She gives it a smell, looks at me, then looks back at the car, and we march on. Imagine her surprise when I opened the car door! Without a moments hesitation she stepped right in and sat down. Today we were taking a field trip, a field trip to the Evanston lakeshore.

For the half hour drive to the lake, Phoebe happily propped her head out the window, jowls flapping in the breeze. As we arrived, parked the car and made our way to the beach, once again, she sat. She seemed to need a moment to look at and take in all of the open space. Little did she know I was not going to pull back on the leash. Today she would walk me. Since she was a puppy, Phoebe has loved sand, water and open space. I could tell she was pleased with our destination! She finally stood up, put her nose to the sand and we were off.

We moved back and forth, over here and over there, around in a circle until we stood close enough to the lapping water. Phoebe froze – looking, smelling, listening and then she began to slowly tiptoe in. I was surprised because the water at the lake is still very cold. She managed to walk in up to her belly.

imageAs I continued to follow her lead, there were many sights that caught our attention – another dog running along the beach, some artwork in the sand, an opening in some boulders along the shore and the big watermelon boat already out for the summer. We spent many long pauses because Phoebe likes to study things.
I was happy in my choice of footwear for this guided walk. It turned out to be the perfect day to wear a pair of boots, because our hike took us through water, sand, grass, crushed gravel, cement, and atop some small boulders.

The natural path along the Evanston Lakeshore leads north to Northwestern University’s Campus. There has been a lot of construction on the campus for the last three years, closing parts of this path. I was happy to see the path reopened. There are two new buildings and a sailing center at the south end of campus overlooking Lake Michigan. They are all beautiful and seem to complement the lakescape. At the end of the walkway, looking to the south – a great view of the Chicago skyline. We continued to the north end of campus and the soccer field, Phoebe paused once when she could hear a flute by the Music building.

When it was time to turn around, we walked back through the open grassy field that runs along the lakeshore. As luck would have it the clouds began to break and the sun came out! We moved in a southward zigzag pattern, from smell to smell. I was still letting her guide us in a roaming kind of walk.  As we approached the car, Phoebe seemed happy to reach a familiar destination. I poured out some water and she had a nice long drink!

What a great 4 mile walk! What an awesome walking partner! I had a lot of fun letting Phoebe walk me for a change.image


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