As stated in the Run A Muck Ranch News Bulletin: Medical Edition, Maude has what amounts to an untreatable health condition that requires daily active walks to keep her ‘Regular’.
These mandatory walks take place after work.
Having 12 dogs to deal with before work, right from bed, I hit the ground running. I then spend the day doing the work of 3 people in active, physical labor, and have to be sure to be done in time to get back to the same 12 dogs – and by 12 I mostly mean Morty and Slugger – before they burn the house down. Generally, I am away for 9ish hours a day. When I get home, everyone needs to be fed and medicated, plus the house tidying, plus, plus, plus. And remember, there are 12 k9’s who want attention.
Generally, I sprint from about 4:45 a.m. (I get to sleep late this time of year) until 6pm-ish, and then am ready for bed by 8. As the days get lighter longer, so too grow my work days.
Now let’s add in a walk for Maude to the routine. Eeeek!
So now you have the scene: I have sprinted all day, have sprinted home, and have sprinted to get Maude out for our first walk. As we reach the end of the driveway the phone rings: It is an impatient client who wants to discuss a special project.
So there I am still sprinting, talking a mile a minute with an impatient client. We reach the end of the street and turn right without stopping. Still sprinting.
Then I hear it. A soft “woof”. I look down , and to my right, very slightly ahead of me, is Maudie looking up at me, with the most heartbreaking expression on her face, trying her best to keep up.
My Maudie, 13 years old. Maudie who always has to keep up with her siblings when we are out on desert walks. Maudie, just diagnosed with a benign problem that still could be cause to lose her. Maudie, so excited when her Mom took her from the back yard, just her, and no one else.
And then there’s me, sprinting and ignoring her.
My voice cracked a little as I told my impatient client she would have to wait, that I had something very important I had to do right then. I hung up the phone and bent down to hug Maude.
We then continued our walk, at Maude’s pace, and I talked to her and only her.
From that day forward, when we’re on our walks, I only answer the phone if it’s Crabby. Though we do sometimes take one of the other siblings – Maude does love them – we never move fast. Always at Maude’s pace.
We have never sprinted since that first walk. When push comes to shove, anyone else in the world – not important. That old lady dog – important. For a portion of every day, she is all that exists. It’s all about priorities.
It’s only been a couple of weeks since we started these walks, but already I have started to look forward to them as much as Maude. Turns out, strolling through the desert with my best lady is actually very relaxing and recharging. I only wish we started doing it years ago.
I always say that I would walk through fire for any of my kids. Maude isn’t asking me to do that. All she asks is that I walk slow.
You got it honey.