Trying to keep up a vital piece of therapy under ‘different’ circumstances


Of the many things the late, great, and grievously lamented Max gave me, the boost to my health was not insignificant. He was, unwittingly, a therapy dog for me.

He was a therapy dog in that in being a dog he had to be walked – in his case, twice a day. First thing in the morning we strolled across the park with him – rain or shine. Frankly he never seemed to appreciate the sacrifices we made for him during inclement times. Oh, I wish I could go for a sodden, drenching south-easter walk with him now – damn it!

And then in the afternoon – every single damn day, we went for our longer walk. A particular favorite was the Northeast Woods here in Comox. Lots of smells, lots of things to say, and often a plethora of other dogs whose bums needed to be sniffed just to check their bona-fides.DSCN2186

Now the therapy aspect of it all was that these daily walks were good for my health. Indeed, walking is one of the most healthful things a body can do. And of course we walked regularly before we had Max but not quite ‘as’ regularly. If it was raining or stormy we eschewed the perambulation. With a dog you have no such choice. He does, after all, have ‘restroom’ aspects of his life to deal with. So, you get a good healthful shot of exercise and he gets a good healthful poop.

Since he has gone walking has lost a lot of its charm for me. I mean I still do it; I just don’t have as much incentive. And one of the biggest problems stems from heading to our favorite haunts of yore. Like the woods, as I mentioned.

But, I have followed our favorite circuit a couple of times. The first time it was brutal and a bit teary. Now it’s better. Not good, but better. What I do is wander along and pretend that he is present – hey, maybe he is – and picture him at different spots along the route. If others aren’t around I also talk to him and point things out to him. Not perfect, but better than nothing.

And, I must continue walking, regardless.

So if you run across me in the woods and I seem to be talking to the sky or to the plants or to the trail, I am just chatting with Max. I like to think he appreciates it.


4 responses to “Trying to keep up a vital piece of therapy under ‘different’ circumstances

  1. He does.
    I often talk to my husband and imagine he is healthy and with me (he died 2 years ago). We always loved the outdoors and enjoying it together. I even sometimes sing some of the songs we enjoyed (mostly John Denver and James Taylor ones) and feel embarrassed when someone comes upon me.
    But it does me good.
    In the last year of my husbands life, our dog died and we had 2 cats left. Kala, my black cat, was afraid of Clay due to his dementia (last 6 yrs of his life) and his falling a lot. Mooshoo, the gray tabby, was not a people person and kept her distance. The day after we;d had our dog put down, my husband sat weeping quietly and Mooshoo walked over to him. She jumped up into his lap and rubbed against him! Never had she done that before! He began petting and hugging her and he became calmed. After that day she was always on his lap or wrapped on his shoulders or cuddled next to him. She knew he needed her. When he died, she became quiet and cried for him at night and would not eat. I worried. But one night about a week later, I felt her jump upon the bed and she softly lay next to me cuddling close. She was on one side and Kala on the other. Been like that ever since.

  2. Ian, that is so touching. Max is with you, never doubt it. I often speak to my mother also in the quiet of the morning when she and I used to converse the most. She passed away two years ago. Keep up with the walks.

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