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Hiking with Dogs in the Country

While up at Mom & Dad's for the Christmas weekend I took the dogs out every day for a couple's so lovely walking through woods and fields with nary a sidewalk in sight :) I get my daily exercise, the dogs love it and I get to pretend I'm a country girl again.

I used to bring my SLR with me on these walks, but it's so bulky and I'm always afraid of ruining it (sometimes I end up on trail-less land, clambering over/under/through brush, etc.), so I started slipping my new point-and-shoot into my pocket. Clint got it for me as a birthday present – in September – and I have yet to read the instruction manual, which is more than likely the reason why I haven't mastered its settings.

I say that because we sometimes fight about where the focal point should be and whether or not to use flash. I guess I could go ahead and read up on how to use it...

Regardless, it comes with me always in my purse (you never know when you'll need a camera) and of course while hiking in the country with the dogs. Zada is a pretty poser but Tesa...well, Tesa does some really weird stuff that's fun to catch on card (I can't say "film" anymore, although that makes more sense to me).

Unfortunately, while I had the camera with me I didn't have a free hand to capture her weirdest moment that weekend: diving head-first down a hole in the hay bales to chase after a stick. She's gamey and will do just about anything, but she didn't quite think her endeavor through...I just happened to be close enough to grab her tail as she kept falling and then got stuck. My sister and I hauled her out and she was fine, but it still would've been a funny picture (the mental one we have is hilarious).

Other than that, it was mostly a lot of tramping around in the woods, across fields, along the river, on lonely trails connecting backwoods plots of land, and in the horse pasture (to check the fence line).

This winter has been mild – for Minnesota – and there was barely any snow on the ground (not much more than a dusting), with temps in the 20s and 30s...perfect for hiking (in my country-girl opinion).

Hogan, Tesa and Zada were my constant companions while outside and I think they loved the walks as much as I did. While there wasn't open water for them to drink (like there was on the river over Thanksgiving weekend), they got bitefuls of snow here and there.

One of the things about these dogs – well, Tesa & Zada, anyway...Hogan's 10 years old, after all – is that no matter how long they've been out running around, they're always ready to go. If you're putting on your boots, they're whining at the door, excited to head outside again.

And if all the humans are inside, poor Zada resigns herself to lying on the porch (with an ever-ready stick at her disposal), waiting patiently for someone to come out and play :)