Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Creek Walking with Violet

by Robbie Davis-Floyd – originally written July 2010

Bush the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. The horse riding buddy. I have a new dog, Violet—she is a Catahoula mix—a brindle—tan with black irregular spiral stripes and beautiful hazel eyes. After my beloved Shadow died of old age, I waited a long while to find a new dog, then tried to adopt one from the pound with no success—somebody else always got there first. Then I just started, and kept on, saying to the Universe, “I just want my dog to show up in my face, please let my dog show up in my face!” A few months later, after numerous repetitions of the plea, I walked into the holistic pet store to buy cat food, and there she was, in a cage with a sign, “Hi, my name is Violet, please adopt me!” I took her home that night, and went creek-walking the very next day—the test was, “if you are really my puppy, you will love being in water as I do.” And she did!

And since then, we have gone creek-walking every day for at least an hour and a half (except of course for when I travel). This is huge for me—I hate all other forms of exercise and absolutely love creek-walking. Shadow and I used to do it often, usually in the Blanco River, but I lost that when he died. I can’t seem to go just on my own—I need the motivation of a dog who needs her exercise just as much as I do! And I need mine even more now as I really need to exercise to heal from my knee and hip replacements.

The preparation has become a daily ritual. I put on a bathing suit and my water sandals, then strap on a waterproof beltpack that I found at REI, containing dog treats, car keys, and even a holder for my water bottle, plus, very importantly in case of accident, my iPhone in a special waterproof case that even lets you talk on it or dial out without taking it out of the case.

Having Violet has changed my life, much for the better! Here is a description of our creek-walking experiences.

The coolest thing about creek-walking is the "presence" it requires. I have to pay full attention to every step, as there are usually rocks, boulders, or odd and unexpected crevasses that can twist my ankle or break my leg at any moment if I take one wrong step. At the same time, there is this stunning natural beauty, intrinsic to the Texas Hill Country—white limestone and juniper trees, lots of wildflowers–around me that I keep wanting to take in fully. So it’s a balance between the wide and the narrow gaze, just like life.

And then there is the surprise of discovering the unexpected waterfall or rapids, the excitement of finding just the right place in the waterfall where it can beat blissfully on my back while the ferns wave above me, or the fun of climbing through the rapids, step by single step, the focus of negotiating the obstacles in my path—fallen branches, long clingy vines full of spider webs, large boulders, tiny tricky slippy rocks–the relief of sinking into the water when it’s deep, the feel of its tug on my muscles when I walk upstream against the current, the joy in knowing that my muscles are responding and strengthening with every step I take. The sudden thrill of the sunlight penetrating a shady glade, the ever-changing configurations of the stones beneath my feet, the constant decision-making–do I go this way or that? The path taken leads to discovery, the path not taken remains a mystery for the next time. No end to the adventure!

The enchantment of a beneficent nature that seems only lovely, the constant awareness that nature is not naturally beneficent and that danger lurks everywhere. The fear of a misstep and a fall on hard and uneven rocks, the thrill of "feeling the fear and doing it anyway." The delight on seeing a turtle hanging out in its chosen spot. The pure fun of watching Violet splash and play, the secure joy of knowing that however far she strays in the pleasure of the moment, when I call she always comes right back to me, water spraying all around her—droplets of reflected sunlight–running full out towards me then stopping at the last second to nuzzle against my hand or leg, licking my face as if to say “Yes, I’m here, I know you, and I love you—you are my human and I am your dog and we are forever together. You don’t want to lose me here in the wild and I don’t want to lose you either! I get it!!”

The wall I hit when I realize I’ve overstepped my physical boundaries–my legs are shaking from exhaustion, I wish for rescue, and I realize that I left the beaten out-of-the water path long ago, and now the only option is to keep creek-walking until I get to the trail at the end that leads to my car and the luxuries of civilization. At that point I stop, find a convenient rock where I can sit half in the water and half out, pull out treats for Violet, which she eats with intensity sitting on a nearby rock, contemplate the beauty around me and how lucky I am to be experiencing it, pull my act together, sink down in the creek water for the simple joy of the experience and of cooling off, and stick it out till I’m home free, one cautious and conscious and delicious step at a time.


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October 29, 2012 Posted by | animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets | , , , , , | Leave a comment