A Burst of Freedom

This post is mostly about showing off Dora’s skills with apologies to my friends who can’t see the videos. Also, if you receive these posts in your inbox, you’ll need to go back to the website to view them, because it’s impossible to post the text and the videos at the same time.

Yesterday, my friend Dan took Dora and me to a park nearby that has miles of trails through woods and meadows. I was dying to get out of the neighborhood, and Dora was bored with walking the same old routes, even though I tried to devise a different one each day. I live in a great neighborhood for walking, because you could take a different route each day and never repeat it exactly. In fact, you could probably walk all day long without walking on the same sidewalk twice. But after 90 days in a row without a break to do something like go to church or shopping or to a meeting, it was wearing on both of us.

In these videos, you will see how skillfully Dora guides me over roots and deep ruts in the dirt roads. Occasionally, she’d hesitate for half a nanosecond to decide the best way to go, but I’d hardly notice a pause. Still, I knew she was sizing up the situation as we approached it, because most of the time, she chose the only smooth part of the road, and when there was no smooth part, she’d zig and zag through the maze of ruts and gigantic roots. I had to pay attention too, because I had to read every little movement. It was hugely fun. In some of the clips, especially after we had done 2 or 3, she’d turn around and grin at Dan as if to say, “Did you get that one?”

We’ve had wildly varied weather, so we chose a day that was dry, not too hot, and not too cold. This has been anything but a typical June. Dan and I wore masks while in the car. We wore them on the trails too, unless there were no other people in sight. Because the weather was so beautiful, we encountered several other people with their well-behaved dogs. Although signs were posted prohibiting dogs or other pets, I think the rangers had looked the other way. They knew that even dogs need a change of scenery and some exercise. The difference was that the people had to make the decisions on which way to get through the rough spots, while I left that up to Dora. Sometimes, Dan gave me a heads up that we were approaching a challenge, and sometimes, the only warning I got was the sound of the video starting.

We topped off the day with a delicious fast food lunch eaten in the car, to avoid going inside. I sat is the back with Dora and it was hard to eat a hamburger just inches from her nose, but, she got the bottom third of my milk shake when we got home.

I don’t know how Dan felt today, but Dora and I were “plum tuckered out” last night and today. We haven’t had such a workout and such a good time in months.

Mary Hiland

Author of

The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir

And

Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life

Available at www.dldbooks.com/maryhiland

www.seeingitmyway.com

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