Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dog Walks - August 7, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, we had a trip to the vets...Mali girl is close to 70 pounds, so she and I are seriously dieting (I have gained, too, since winter weather), and our walks are now even more important. 

We had beautiful weather today - not too hot and low humidity - a great day for a walk!

We were surprised as we started out and looked ahead and saw:
The officer cautiously approached to make sure the dogs were "comfortable"...Mali went around Chi to get on the far side, next to me.  Chi stood still as the horse stood right next to him.  Horses are BIG, aren't they!  I think today was the closest I have ever been to a horse.  Chi and Mali have been close to them before on other walks with my son.

As we were finishing our walk, on the return leg, as the horse was coming back down the trail towards us again - Mali sat on command (Chi not so much).  Yes, Mali sits on command, thanks to my son's diligent work with her.  As we started walking again, Mali almost stepped on a garter snake that was scooting out of the way in the grass.

August 8 - Dog Walk - So Many Bucks!
Another beautiful day and a good walk ahead.

There had been major construction work on our (my) favorite path in Rock Creek Park for a couple of weeks; since it had started, I had only spotted one deer on the opposite side of the road from the path.  Prior to that, we had been regularly seeing at least one doe (the other had been struck), and 2 or 3 fawns or young deer in the brush next to the path as we walked by.  They were probably the same deer in our neighborhood.

(Front yard, July 11, 2014)
(Back yard, early morning, July 22, 2014)

So I was very happy as we were walking to see a young buck on the trail ahead, duck back into the brush next to the path.  As we went past the brushy woods, I saw the young buck, with newly formed straight antlers, sticking up about a foot on his head.  I also saw another deer, possibly a doe, in the brush next to us.

I was elated and very surprised on our return trip from our turn-around point to see two bucks come out of the brush and head across the road to the woods on the other side.  Then a third, older buck, with an amazing full rack of antlers, followed close behind them and stood in the road to watch over the crossing.  At least 5 more bucks then came across - varying ages, at least varying sizes and stages of antler development.  The last to come out and cross was either a doe or a very young buck without apparent antlers.  I had never seen a group of deer with more than one male present (excluding young fawns), and here was a group of at least 8 males!

I fumbled awkwardly to get out my cell phone camera, while holding the two leashes and a very full "doggie" bag.  I was so excited, and yet very concerned, because the road tends to have a rather steady stream of traffic, and I knew there was a limited time for them to safely cross over.  Mali and Chi continued nonchalantly walking back to the car, they are so used to the deer being around the yard and our walks.
So here is my feeble attempt to capture what was left of the scene by the time I could snap off a shot:

By the way, Mali is handling the diet changes very well - and Chi is actually eating better.  My son is getting them out regularly, too, for more "intense"/"focused" walking of 3 to 4 miles.  I have even noticed that Mali is more concentrated on walking, instead of sniffing, and she is able to handle the return walk without so many rest breaks in the shade, preferably in wet grass.  Definitely because of my son's handling!

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