For the winter holidays, Miles and I journeyed out East. My immediate family were all together for the first time in years. We came together at a difficult time: We recently lost my Nana, and my sister had just moved back after years in the UK, and was about to say goodbye to her companion of 19 years, Gulliver the cat.
Miles and I went on long hikes almost every single day. That was an important and cherished routine for Miles and I. My favorite place to go was Point Peele National Park. PP has proven to the PNW girl in me that there are magical forests on the East Coast. On these winter hikes, any worries dissipated into the fresh forest air, and our bodies forgot how cold it was and just enjoyed moving.
I am going to talk about how I think it is possible to go on off-leash hikes with tough-to-train terriers, and why I think training for such an ability is critical for their mental and physical well-being. But the obvious thing to say first, is that it presents a great benefit for us as well!
I know for me, seeing Miles’ bright little self zoom by, past, and back to me and past again and so on and so on… There is no feeling on Earth like it. And I think this series of photographs demonstrates that therapeutic effect! I hope you can enjoy what I felt, too!
The best hikes were the ones where my dad came with us.
My dad is 6’6, so he gets ahead a lot!
Miles is so well-trained, and likes to check in with me from time to time. I love the feeling of mutual respect and trust we have. Walks are such a pleasure with my buddy.
The brambles turn purple in the winter at Point Peele. I am not sure why! Does anyone know?
Miles, always taking trail short-cuts so he can get ahead and sniff!
Reaching the shore of one of the Great Lakes is always an experience. The relatively insulated calm forest opens up to wind-blown spindly young trees and the sound of crashing waves. The wind is a punishing force on most days in the winter.
The woods near the point in the winter always remind me of a Tim Burton movie…
The non-Miles glimmers of color were few and far between!
Miles talks to me with his eyes.
The frozen marshes.
I love this picture of Miles and my dad.
Frozen leaf impressions.
…And then suddenly, Miles bursts into a sprint!
Shake it off, Miles!
The trees are webbed with wild grapevines. They look so interesting with no foliage!
And of course Miles found the only opossum foolish enough to walk around during the day! If this video isn’t a testament to my training skill, I do not know what else is. Miles, as documented on this blog, by nature was born with a 100/10 level of prey drive.
Hi little opossum!
In the PNW it is uncommon to walk through a forest and immediately look down to see so many kinds of leaves!
Miles is so happy, he is dancing as he runs.
We love how Miles speaks to you thru his eyes. Such a wonderful connection!
Thank you Denise, I am honored to get a look into your life with George. You truly have a magical connection and understand how I feel!
Loved going on the walk with you, ?. I appreciate how you find the beauty in an otherwise asleep environment. I am so jealous of his discipline in staying so close to you. Sadly, my Stella would have been half way to town if taken off leash, lol ?♀️. And his coat! Awesome! Can you provide a link to that fashionable jacket? Stella needs that!
Hi Susan! As I am totally full-time in teaching Welsh Terrier training, Miles is a total wildman and the perfect subject to show off both of our skills! Let me know if you ever want to do some sessions with Stella, maybe she can show off her new skills in the jacket? Hehehe! Miles’ coat is by Pomppa brand, from Finland. I talked to the manufacturer and apparently this one is too small on him. I think for a girl a 31 or 34 would be a good fit. The pattern is called “Kymppi” and the coat is available here in North America: https://www.cleanrun.com/product/toppa_pomppa_insulated_dog_coats_new_colors/index.cfm
Thanks for sharing your adventures wags from Roo
Aww thanks Janelle and Roo! ❤️❤️
There are few moments as rewarding as hiking with your best dog friend off lead. What a gift to see our buddies free to kick up their heels in the wild. That’s when they are most themselves and alive. I hope that Pippin and I can achieve such a bond of trust and the freedom that comes with it.
One lucky possum is what I have to say!
Thanks for the lovely walk.
Sue and Pippin
I couldn’t agree more! It is so good for my headspace. I definitely believe you and Pippin will get there. It takes time but it is so worthwhile. She is one lucky girl, I can’t wait to meet her!
And yes the lucky little possum, too. ?
We can’t believe how good you were about walking right on past that possum, Miles! What a beautiful walk you had and we LOVE your colorful coat!
Aww thanks Molly! Yes the possum was a challenge… Miles wanted to gum up his neck with a nice drool ring. ?
A few people have called Miles a girl in this jacket, but he doesn’t care, he’s proud!
So sorry on your loss of your Nana. She was such a lovely woman and Miles adored her as she him. It’s always so therapeutic for long walks in the forest amongst nature and the centering it brings to all of the earth’s creatures. We have a lovely park here (Radner Lake) but dogs are not allowed off the paved road that goes down the center and they can never be off leash within the park’s boundaries. Our last walk at the end of November had us come across a bunch of wild turkeys, turtles, various types of geese, a herd of female deer and a fox. All right in the middle of the day, all in the middle of a major metropolitan city…Nashville! Not to mention the thousands of “evil” squirrels as Reggie attests them to be. Fortunately for us it was 62F. Thank you for sharing your wonderful day and for your special bond with that incredible little man. It’s funny as I look into the eyes of Miles, I see that same look of reassurance and respect from Reggie. Welshies are an incredible breed and I feel so lucky to have one in our lives!
Kelly, yes, you have gotten to know her through the blog. ❤️ I really appreciate that, thank you.
It is really a shame that irresponsible people who don’t pick up after their dogs, or let their dogs be poorly behaved cause parks to close their doors to dogs. I know one of my bucket list trails (see it here: https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/joffre-lakes/ ) have banned dogs due to that. So sad.
Oh my gosh… I think of those items Miles is most into wild turkeys!! My parents have them often on their property, and are annoyed about the poop, which seems to not wash away with rain. So when the neighbors (who feed them) weren’t home, I told Miles he could chase them. He was in ecstasy! And they didn’t come back for a full week. Total mystery to the neighbors! ? Which of those options was Reggie most interested in???
I 100% imagine Reggie gives you the same look. We are so, so lucky.
Em, such beautiful photos… I feel like I was on the walks with you and Miles and your Dad…you really capture the energy, the peacefulness, the wild joy. I lingered over ever frame. I love yourDad in his beret. I love Miles with all his paws off the ground. The flora is so familiar to me. And yes.. there are many vine-grape-like climbers on big trees, but I will bet you ANY amount of money that the one you showed in your photo is NOT a grape vine, but poison ivy. Glad you didn’t touch it.the lake looks so riled! Very wintery! Please tell your sister welcome home, and that I’m truly sorry for the loss of her longtime feline friend. Thanks for vicariously taking me along on your hike! Love to you… Darcy and Sally
Thank you Darcy! When my dad visits, the check-out guys at my grocery store always love his hats. Too funny!
Can poison ivy be that big???? EEP! With my Lyme disease scare you are now my go-to for info on all things gross in the East coast wilderness, hehe.
I will tell my sis for you, you are too lovely!
I just worked my tail off downstairs in the basement cleaning and organizing the storage of 45 years of my life. It was filthy back-breaking work for a women of 68 years, and my husband and I have just started this process. My husband and I don’t want to leave a huge mess for our kids to clean up after us when we are unable to take care of ourselves. Since we are still active we have taken this upon ourselves, and it is shocking the stuff you keep. But I am meandering and just wanted to say your post, was wonderful for me to relax into. You are a gifted photographer, and your main subject is just wonderful to experience through your art. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such beautiful moments in your life. I feel relaxed, and for a few moments I was so involved I forgot the aches and pain of age!
Oh Kim that sounds horrible! You are a saint! How many people actually do that! I clean out my storage closet sometimes, but each time am very sad to find that even though I’ve filtered out 1/3 of the contents, I have trouble getting the remaining 2/3 back in. How is that possible? 1/3 less stuff, and now I can’t get it all back in?!?!
I am deeply happy that our photos brought you some much needed relief and pleasure. That means EVERYTHING to me!!! Hugs sent your way!!
Emma, what fantastic photos of Miles’ east coast adventure. He reminds me so much of my male Welsh, Luc. The wonderful training you have done, and strong bond with Miles, is evident in these photos. Well done to you both!
Hi Elise, thank you so much! I am so glad you liked the photos. I love the name Luc. I emailed you back ❤️
Emma: Reggie was most intrigued by either the fox, who zipped by us quickly and Reggie had to sniff over and over the trail or the snapping turtles as he had never seen anything of the sort. They were sunning themselves right off the edge of the lake on a large log. He was wanting so badly to jump in and swim over to them! He has seen many turkeys and deer so they weren’t as interesting. Though the one female deer did come within 6 feet of us as we stopped on the road and she crossed in front of us. Reggie just watched her and she just sauntered on. After she left the road and back into the woods, Reggie barked wildly at her. Until then he was just watching to see what she was going to do. Yesterday we had a big fat chipmunk get into the yard and run across the brick boundary on our garden. Reggie was beside himself as he had never seen one, it was incredibly fast and it kept doubling back and forth and he was chasing it all the way. He spent a good hour smelling each paw fall of the chipmunk and waited for it to return. I worry that one of these days he will catch it or a squirrel! Not sure what he’d do with it if he did. But they do keep his prey drive sharp and his imagination active! Beautiful pictures and we enjoy them all so much! Hopes for an early Spring for us all! Kelli & Reggie
Interesting! I don’t think Miles could EVER get tired of turkeys or deer! I like hearing about Reggie’s preferences, I think that is a sign of truly dignified character. I bet that chipmunk instantly regretted her decision! When I first moved into our current apartment, mice would sneak in from the apartment below us. It only took a few times of them going by for Miles to chase and catch one, despite these being agile city mice. Miles instantly broke it’s neck, and then was confused and sad as to why his “new friend” didn’t want to keep playing. He didn’t finish the job and I had to, which was horrible. He seemed worried at that point. How big are the snapping turtles?!?
The red eared snapping turtles are about 12 to 15 inches across their shell. They actually have a cove off the main lake which we call turtle cove. The waters are more shallow and there are many fallen logs which is just heaven to all the turtles of the area. They can be quite aggressive biters towards prey so another reason I was grateful we had Reggie tethered. I could just see him going right up to them and getting chomped! Having had wire fox terriers before, it seems as if Welsh terriers are much less intimidated and very bold when exploring new things especially wild life. I shudder to think if Reggie does catch one of his vermin friends and doesn’t quite do the job as you say, I know I could bear having to put it out of their misery! Even though we have a fully enclosed yard with a 12 foot fence, I always am either outside or right near the door to the outside when he goes out back. He just can’t help himself when it comes to getting into the shrubbery, dirt or chasing real or imaginary creatures. He has scratched his cornea twice squeezing into the bushes to chase a bird or squirrel. He has no fear and an uncanny sense of turning off his hearing as I call to him reminding him that he is not supposed to jump the curb (we have a red curb like bricking around the edges of the shrubbery beds) and go into the beds. Last night an owl perched on our neighbors roof and was hooting at about 3AM. Reggie had to go out and “see” what was going on and it really spooked him as his ears went way back on his neck and he zoomed back onto the patio after the first two hoots! I took a flashlight and showed him what was making that noise and he wasn’t too keen on wondering around the yard after seeing the at least 2 foot tall raptor hanging up above watching us. I actually stood next to him in the yard so he would potty and come back in. I wish I could have video of the event but my phone was on the other side of the house and it was so dark that it wouldn’t have picked up much except maybe the loud hooting and Reggie high tailing it to the back porch! HaHa!
Yes Ive heard snapping turtles are nothing to mess with! Tell me more about him scratching his cornea, via email if you like. I keep such data privately to help inform prospective/new Welsh Terrier owners. ❤️ People just don’t believe us of how wild these pups are!
And I laughed SOOOO hard at your 3AM story!! Oh my gosh, if only all of us Welsh Terrier people had our phones video-ing at 3am wake-ups……… ??? Thank you for the good laugh!
Sending heaps of sympathy to you and your family.
I am in awe of your photography. Thank you for sharing. Luke, (will be one 19th of February) starts school Monday (I start too because it is for both of us). Luke is our 9th Welsh Terrier and he is a typical Welsh Terrier. I only wish that Luke is half as well behaved as Miles. We also have a 13 year old, Rocky. He is great off leash, has been for years. Rocky is a well behaved laid back gentleman. Rocky is our 7th. I’m guessing from your MNW photos that you are somewhere in the Vancouver BC area. I’m south of there in Puget Sound Wish us LUCK and patience.
Hi Shawnam! Please contact me via email too, as I’d love to get to know you better — your 9th Welsh Terrier?!? Wow! I’d love to hear about your experiences — and keep commenting as the other readers love to hear from long-time Welsh Terrier owners, especially about the real-life day-to-day challenges ?. IT is so nice to hear from you, and thank you for the sympathy. ❤️