We recently took Ray on a trail walk as he seems to love a more natural environment. He buried his nose in the fallen leaves and, moving with purpose, followed scents that we could only guess at. Every now and then he would stop, lift his head and look around, then back into the leaves his nose would go as he once again followed his instincts.
We had been on the trail for almost two hours when we realized that we didn’t really know, with any certainty, where we were relative to where we had parked the RAV. I guess it is just Murphy’s Law, but why is it that there is never one of those “You Are Here” maps when you need one? Ray was still on his tracking mission and, as he appeared to want to go in the direction which we guessed might take us back, we followed him…………………. and then we came to the stairs! 7 flights averaging 10 steps per flight!
When we brought Ray home from the Humane Society for the first time, we found out that steps were not his strong point. Watching him try and climb the four concrete steps up to our front porch was fascinating because he obviously did not know what to do with his back legs. He eventually made it to the top by climbing diagonally and rather clumsily, so clearly steps had not been a factor in his background. Over the course of the following few weeks we introduced him to many steps until he became more comfortable with them, but now we were confronted with 7 flights of steel tread steps averaging 10 steps per flight.
Ray had been walking and following scents for almost two hours; had short intermittent displays of “zoomies”, been up and down hills, and now had to climb this structure. Was this going to be a problem? In the event that he ran into difficulties, carrying him was going to be approached with great trepidation. He might resist, and if resistance was serious enough, then it would be a brave (or perhaps foolhardy) man who persisted! The almost two hours of continual trail walking was also being felt by us unfortunates who have only two legs on which to carry our weight!
At the bottom of the steps we gave Ray the “Easy” directive, just in case he was tempted to go charging upwards, which tended to be his current habit. His idea of “Easy” was to pull the leash so tight that it could well have been used to play a short bass guitar riff however, we were able to restrain him on the first landing and take a few seconds break. With only six flights of steps to go, we continued in the same manner, stopping him at every landing until we reached the top at which point we needed to slow things down a little. He was back into scent investigation mode and clearly wanting to go!
With some luck, and a rather long circuitous route, we eventually found our way back to the RAV and so headed home. It was really interesting to note that while Ray was clearly excited during the drive to the trail, and certainly had more than enough energy for wandering around the trail system, climbing hills and ultimately the 7 flights of stairs, he was unusually sedate on the drive home! Whereas he can be quite vocal when traveling, there was no sound coming from the rear seats. When we arrived home, he was the first one through the door and promptly lay down on one of his beds. This brought back memories of long ago. That same feeling of relief a parent gets when a small child eventually falls asleep. That same feeling of knowing you can now just relax, have a cup of tea, and let your mind wander to wherever. Of course, with a Ray around, that will only last until somebody makes a move towards the kitchen, but those few moments of peace are precious!