Sunday at the Church of Dog

I consider myself very fortunate to live in close proximity to Ft. Lewis. With thousands of acres of prime wildlife habitat, you couldn’t ask for a better place to take a dog for an off-lead romp. The Army makes you jump through a few hoops to get on the base legally, but once you’re registered the sign in process is pretty simple.

I make it a habit to run my dogs, off-lead, every day. Our usual destination is one of the Ft. Lewis training areas between Spanaway and McKenna. Over the last week the Army has closed most of the training areas in order to use them for … well… training! ROTC trains there every summer and that means our daily walks become more sporadic and I need to find other areas to exercise and train my dogs.

This morning was the third morning in a row that we have been unable to get the dogs to Ft. Lewis because of range area closures. The dogs were beginning to show signs of going slightly bonkers due to being cooped up on our little 10 acre slice of paradise. In a desperate attempt to ward off the impending lunacy, Lyn and I gathered up the dogs and headed for the Skookumchuck River.

A huge chunk of land near the Skookumchuck River Dam is owned by the power co. and WDFW. This land is open to the public for recreation. There are hundreds of acres of grassy fields, forest and brushy edge cover for the dogs to romp and explore. It turned out to be just the ticket for our pack. They ran all over the fields, swam in the river and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our Sunday morning.

As I sit and type these words all four of the dogs are sleeping soundly with just an occasional twitch as visions of endless, grassy fields and cool river water pass through their dreams. Sanity has once again returned to our den. Tomorrow the pressure will begin building again. I hope one of the army training areas will re-open. If not, we might have to take a trip to a nearby lake and do some swimming.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to be living my dream of being a dog trainer, but I have to admit training isn’t my most important job. All the training in the world won’t make a good dog if he doesn’t get his exercise!

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