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Spring into Hiking

Cinder here! If you’re like me, you are tired of winter and the boring road walks that pass for recreation this time of year. Never fear, friends! The bipeds keep talking about “spring”, and what they are referring to is that lovely time every year when peeing outside is a pleasure and there is lots of fresh grass to roll in! My favorite part of spring is the beginning of the hiking season.

If you have not been hiking with bipeds, I must highly recommend the activity! Now is the time to start training for longer distances and challenges like rock climbing, so drag your human a few extra feet on every walk so that you can be ready when the weather makes it possible to explore the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Here are a few other suggestions you should be making to get your humans ready to hike:

Brush Up on Leash Laws

Tell your humans to check out what kind of laws you have to follow, and be nice when they ask you to walk on a leash, even if you usually run free around the yard. I know, leashes stop us from chasing squirrels and digging into especially yummy things while we’re hiking, but it also keeps us from getting into trouble with bipeds we don’t know, and mummy says it prevents me from being eaten by a bear. Learning how to enjoy being on a leash has really enhanced my overall enjoyment of hiking, so if you’re unfamiliar with the practice, take a little time now to brush up on your skills.

Old Dominion Animal Hospital, Charlottesville

Remind Your Human to Bring Baggies

Oh, the woods are full of exotic poops! Mummy says I’m not allowed to try them or roll in them (she is rather uneducated about gourmet offerings such as cat poop), but she also picks mine up and makes sure they are packed out of the woods. She claims that wildlife (like the deer and pheasants I love to bark at) will be better off if they can’t eat my poop either. Mummy is so thoughtful.

Bring Water for Your Human

Hiking is so much fun, and you know how fun can make you thirsty! Mummy brings me a small stainless steel bowl and my own water bottle to make sure that even on a desert hike, I can stay fresh and hydrated and ready to chase lizards. We don’t hike very far (mummy says she can only hike four miles, and I love her even if she is inadequate), but when we do skip a whole day of couch napping to go on a day hike, my humans always bring me a snack in case I get hungry from all that sniffing of exotic poops.

Old Dominion Animal Hospital

Do a Few Extra Laps Around the Neighborhood

Now is the time to get your humans up and moving so that you and they will be ready for long uphill climbs, jumping onto logs and rocks, and barking at wildlife. If you aren’t used to a mile long walk around the neighborhood, don’t try to talk your humans into a four mile hike in the mountains (unless they are willing to carry you in a backpack for part of the hike – in which case let the bipeds do whatever they wish). Tug a little on the leash at the end of your walk and see if you can get your biped to let you walk up a hill – then you’ll be ready to drag them up the mountain this summer.

Encourage the Bipeds to Be Noisy

We live in bear country – I know, mummy stopped me from chasing one once! (Silly mummy – maybe he wanted to play….) I’m pretty good at making a lot of noise, which mummy says helps to keep shy bears from being surprised by us or our bipeds (apparently bears don’t like to be surprised – it makes them angry). Encourage your humans to be noisy, too – get them to attach a cleaned soda can filled with a few pennies in it to their backpack, or to sing a silly song and clap their hands. This will keep you from having to chase a bear away from your bipeds.

Old Dominion Animal Hospital, Charlottesville, VA

Insist Upon a Post-Hike Massage

I’m lucky and mummy always gives me a wonderful massage after every hike. She also removes all the mud from my paws (and wherever else I may have gotten mud), and sometimes she pulls bugs off me. I don’t know what a “tick” is, but mummy says they are gross and can make me sick. She also makes me get a shot called a “Lyme Disease Vaccination” that is supposed to help me stay healthy. Mostly I just like getting a whole body massage after a nice long hike.

So get your bipeds geared up and in shape and hit the trails! I’ll see you there.

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