Two fat girls go walking...

Anymore, when my dog and I go for a walk, it has become more a ritual than a way of getting some exercise. By now, Artemis has well passed me by in our golden years and we're both a bit gimpy and can't quite get around like we used to, but we give it a heck of a try.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate because I can hardly call the half mile we trek a major effort, even though Artie often has to take a sit-down break now and then on the return trip. For her, it's more about getting out of the yard and possibly scaring up a bunny which she imagines she might actually catch if given the opportunity.

Ten years ago I took the two "rejects" from the litter of Karelian Bear Dog pups. Orion was the runt while Artemis had a crippling birth defect. It was heartbreaking to watch this young pup limping about in pain on a daily basis after only a short period of play. Two years later, when she matured, she underwent hip replacement surgery. After thousands of dollars and months of recuperation and physical therapy, Artemis was finally able to run for limited amounts of time without ending up in pain! Hooray! Though never quite 100%, she has lived a relatively normal, active life.

We recently lost Orion--suddenly--unexpectedly.

On that day, Artemis sat down, looked at me, gave three mournful cries, then simply hung her head. For three days she moped about and refused to eat. Her lifelong companion was gone.

Her grief is past now and health-wise, like any senior citizen, she has her good days and her bad. Some days we have to shorten our walking distance by half. But as long as she's able, weather permitting (for neither one of us likes walking in the wind), we will trek through the back field, scaring out the occasional quail or bunny, and pretend we're young and spry again, if

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only for a few moments. And that's good enough for us.

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