I am the proud owner of a 92lb (at the last check up) weimador (weimaraner/black labrador mix). Owning a dog is a lot bigger responsibility than I was aware of, especially owning a big dog. One of the things that I didn't realize is the walk that you should take with your dog each day. I have to admit, I'm not the best at walking my dog, having a big backyard for him to run in helps ease me of the guilt.
When he was younger, I was a lot better about consistently taking him on an hour walk each day. At the time, we had recently moved into the neighborhood and walking Boaz turned out to be a great way to meet my new neighbors. I've found that animals have a way of making people more approachable. They become a great conversation piece and can help people overcome social boundaries.
If I was just walking through my neighborhood alone, for exercise I doubt that I would have stopped to talk to people mowing their lawns or playing horseshoes with their son. For that matter, I don't know that they would have stopped me to talk to me. And if we are being realistic, I doubt that I would have just gone for a walk through the neighborhood for exercise. So, getting Boaz, and taking care of him led to me developing some great relationships.
Now, instead of taking Boaz on hour long walks, we walk around the block to the park and play fetch for an hour. I've yet to go and not meet up with some of the children from the neighborhood. And they always want to know if the dog bites (if they haven't met him yet). Others will now answer for me because they've heard my response so many times ("anything with a mouth can bite"). Even the most shy child will vie for a chance to throw the toy for my dog after a while. Children that have played with him several times, act so important when they instruct the newer ones that we wait for Boaz to sit before we throw. They love to see him respond to their commands. For a little while, we are all just enjoying interacting because of a dog. If two start fighting over who's turn it is to throw the toy, they know that Boaz and I will leave, so they usually figure it out so that they can continue to play.
Maybe we should use animals more often to help us overcome our differences and learn to work together!
|Boaz all grown up and wet from swimming|