Monday, April 8, 2013

When Riley goes rolling along--in a stroller

Riley in his "Blue Posh"
OK, so I look like a nut--at least to some. All of the other strollers of Columbia contain cute infants of the human species while mine has, well, Riley--my 13-year-old pooch.

Why a stroller? Riley has actually been walking at least a mile a day at a fairly normal pace. But with his age and recent health problems (pancreatitis, liver issues), he was finding it especially hard to get started and would mostly just refuse to go at all. Also, he occasionally gets a spasm that causes a stiffening in his back legs for a few minutes, and I need to carry him until it resolves. After a while, I sort of gave up trying to coax him to go on walks and started taking just Cody, who at 9 still loves to run for a bit. But leaving Riley at home did not feel right--to me or to him. I'm told he wailed the whole time we were gone.

There really was no good reason to deny Riley the great outdoors if there was an option available to take him out. That option was an inexpensive pet stroller from Amazon--the Blue Posh Pet Stroller--$34.95. Not a big investment, so it's not top of the line. But it's not bad. It's very lightweight. It folds nicely. It has a cover and sun shield if you need it, 2 cup holders, and a compartment to store a few things--like a phone and poop bags. The Amazon reviews were very good. This set of wheels apparently improved the quality of life for a good many pets with mobility issues.

So here's the 2-mile routine we've been doing almost every day along the Kings Contrivance pathways. I do exactly one mile with Riley in the stroller and with Cody running alongside on the leash. We go up and down the hills at a fairly brisk consistent pace--something that at least feels like a cardiovascular benefit. It's good for the soul too. It's a pretty trail that we've enjoyed for the 25+ years that we've lived here. It runs through the woods and mostly follows the river, with a little pond (with herons, ducks and kingfishers) and 3 tot lots tucked in along the way. We see a lot of regulars every day--jogging and walking, and lots of other dogs.

Riley, Richard and Cody checking out the Middle Paxtuxent River
When we reach our destination tot lot at exactly one mile, we relax for a while. Then Riley is ready to walk back home. He does this in a surprisingly perky manner--though we still move much more slowly than we did on the first part of the walk. I push the empty stroller back the whole way, ready to put Riley back in if he seems fatigued or stressed in any way. And, of course, both dogs get plenty of time for sniffing and doing what dogs do.

Only one woman has cracked up laughing at the sight of us. (Sheesh.) Most people respond positively, if at all, especially those who have had an older dog or had to carry a dog for a bit. So we'll keep doing this. The exercise and fresh air has been good for all of us.

Oh, and by the way, thank you, Columbia, for these pathways! The trails are so smooth and clean that you can really get some decent momentum going with a stroller--unlike our experience on the sidewalk where we bump along over cracks and uneven pavement. (There are no shock absorbers in the Blue Posh. Poor Riley.) Thankfully, it's just a short ride on the sidewalk until we get to the trail. Love those trails!

Columbia Dogs on the Go

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments!