Fiona conquers the world! Or at least she conquered a small portion of the world: the couple of blocks that made up her daily ‘walk.’
Fiona is a dog of many nicknames, most of them food inspired: Potato, Tootsie Roll and Cinnamon Loaf to name a few. She also has non-food related nicknames such as FeFe (which had to be temporarily retired while we had another dog at ECPR whose official given name was FeFe), Fe Flea, and Ms. Ona. She has a nickname for every side of her dynamic personality: Tootsie Roll when she is sweet, Potato when she is silly, Ms. Ona when she is a fancy lady. She is definitely Ms. Ona while being wheeled around on her ‘walk.’
Our Fiona is a brave little girl who is still recovering from knee surgery. She has healed immensely since the first day she came back from her surgery. In those days, she didn’t even leave her kennel! But she still has a bit of recovering to do, so she gets special treatment and instead of walking, she gets to be treated like a sweet little princess and is rolled around on her walks.
The ECPR Kennel crew realizes walks are not just about exercise, they are about enrichment. A walk gets the heart beating, but it also provides so much more for our dogs. They get to smell interesting smells and see amazing sights. Their brain’s are stimulated in a new and different way. For some of our dogs, walks are about gaining bravery. Being a little dog in a world full of loud, sputtering cars zooming so near can be scary. But with encouragement and repetition, our more fearful dogs can go from cowering on walks, to prancing with confidence. For other dogs, walks are about figuring out the world. They want to smell every nook and cranny of the walk. But for all the dogs, it is something different to see and experience. So although Fiona may not be able to walk the route we take our dogs on, she can still benefit just by being outdoors.
Fiona loves her rolling strolls! She angles her head toward the sun and sniffs the air around her. She slowly move her head, looking in different directions, her little brown nose wiggling as she inhales the scents. To her, a strange smell blowing past her in the breeze probably tells a whole story my human nose could never understand.
Today, Fiona and I had a grand time on our walk together! All the SoDo starlings were out, huddled by puddles or hiding in trees. When we couldn’t see them we could hear them chirping up a storm. Fiona’s favorite part of any walk is the sunshine. If she had it her way, everyday would include a sunbathing session. On our walk today, Fiona and I saw lots of blue sky, but the clouds would still roll past the sun, obscuring Fiona’s sun rays for a couple of moments. She was patient, but I could sense her appreciation when the sun was back. She looked toward the sky with eyes almost shut, a content expression on her adorable face.
During her stroller walks, I do like to give Fiona a chance to get outside of the stroller so she can explore a bit. Her favorite activities to do once outside the stroller are to sniff and mark. She wants to make sure that all the other ECPR dogs know which trees or tangled patch of weeds are hers. But inevitably, she puts back on her invisible crown and grows bored with something as pedestrian as actually walking (pun intended!). She is ready to be rolled around again, thank you very much! She communicates this to me by plopping down on the ground and looking up at me. Nothing but the best for our little lady, so back in her chariot she goes.
When we get back to the ECPR playroom, it is easy to tell that Fiona feels refreshed. I love taking Fiona on her daily carriage ride/ walk, because she so thoroughly enjoys it. Her appreciation of her walks makes me appreciate them too. Take it from Fiona, the world is an interesting place!