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Walk For Animals 2010 Minnesota

Thirty days ago I headed over to Golden Valley to participate in the "biggest animal walk in the nation" – the Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals. This was the 7th time I've raised money and walked the 5-mile course since I moved to the Twin Cities in the fall of 2002.

Of course, in the beginning I had to borrow other dogs to take with me, not having my own – most notoriously my sister's dog, Hogan – but now of course for the past few years I've taken my German shepherd, Zada. It's the one time a year I figure it's okay to "dress her up" in a bandana, dorky as I think that looks normally.

The walk officially starts at the Golden Valley Humane Society and snakes north up Theo Wirth Parkway to a big park-like clearing where they set up some snack booths and they have a frisbee area. After enjoying refreshments and entertainment, people then walk the 2.5 miles back down to the shelter. I do it differently, of course.

Since my sister used to live right on the course – near the half-way point – I found it much easier to drive to her place, pick up Hogan (a blue heeler), throw on his backpack with my money, chapstick, some water, etc. and then run down to the humane society. There I'd donate the money, throw my 'prizes' (a t-shirt, bandana, whatever) into Hogan's backpack, then run back.

I no longer run, but I still find it much more convenient to avoid the parking disaster and all the crowds by doing the course 'backwards,' and of course now it's my tradition. I even still park in front of my sister's old house...wonder if the gal who owns it now thinks it's odd. Oh well.

One might think a 5-mile walk would wear a dog out, but not Zada. While she does go home and crash, it's mostly from the stimulation of seeing SO MANY dogs, people, and smelling the lovely myriad of scents throughout the day that does it. She takes it all in stride, meeting tons of dogs and standing calmly under the petting hands of any German shepherd fans we run across.

When we hit the end of the course (everyone else's half-way point) I like to sit and watch the frisbee dogs. Zada will chill and watch, but she does whine from time to time, as if to say, "how come THEY get to run after things, and I don't?"

Then we headed over to my sister's place so I could see my nieces (and pilfer a bit of lunch) and Charlie decided she liked my new hat (courtesy of all the nice donations I received!). After all that, it was time to head home for a big ol' nap!

Springtime Sights

I went home to Mission Narrows a few weekends ago. I decided to take my SLR with me on a woodsy walk one afternoon. Here are a few of the sights I saw...

My mom's lilac bush was in splendid form. No butterflies this time, though...

Birch bark always fascinates me. Lots of texture.

This fox parent surprised us - she was most likely heading out to hunt and had left her 2 kits behind (one of which Zada flushed from the woods).

The crab apple trees were in full bloom. These blossoms are from the tree over the grave of our pony, Chico.

A shot of Ole through the crab apple blossoms. I think he was only posing because he thought Mom was bringing him grain. A pretty boy nonetheless.