Posts Tagged With: Bella

Go Where There is no Path

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Middle Branch of the Rouge River in early spring

I know the above is really a metaphor, but I took it literally the other day.  I now know WHY it works better as a metaphor.

On a cool, cloudy afternoon I headed off to walk in the Holliday Nature Preserve in Westland, Michigan. I’ve written of the Preserve before; it’s a 500+ acre wildlife and forest natural area that runs along the Middle Rouge and Tonquish Creek and is under the jurisdiction of  Wayne County Parks.

I took my dog Bella with me (I’ve written about her too in these pages). That was really a no-no for a couple of reasons. One, it’s against Preserve rules and two, the route I wanted to take was not made for man or beast–especially a beast on leash.  That’s because for this route was on a steep slope on the south side of the river between Farmington and Wayne roads.

I chose the more difficult route because an old-timer told me he had found arrowheads and pottery on the slopes of a sandy hill somewhere near here.  In addition, I’ve heard a story that tribes of the Three Fires Confederacy–the Ottawa, Ojibwa and Potawatomi–used to meet near here to trade and talk.   I have also heard talk that when the Holliday Park Townhouses were built near this site a generation ago, ruins of a village or encampment were found, but kept quiet so as not to slow construction.

So with winter gone and the ground still free of  spring vegetation I figured might find that hill and stumble across something of historical value there too.

One of the many trees that blocked our path during our walk

So Bella and I walked.  Or should I say we clambered over and under and around fallen trees on the side of a very steep incline with a fence at the top and the cold river below.  The trees that littered the ground were the remains of Ash trees that had been killed by the Emerald Ash Borer that has decimated this species in much of Michigan.  And of course, having a dog on a retractable leash was not pleasant as we were not of the same mind in which route to take and many times during the 90-minute walk I had to reverse course so that dog, leash and I were not separated by lumber.

At one point as we neared the end of our adventure, Bella tensed and stared ahead at full alert.  I figured she saw, smelled or heard something.  As we slowly moved forward,three white-tail deer scampered away, much to Bella’s delight.  Only the leash kept her from joining them.

We eventually made it back to the car.  No injuries but no Indian artifacts either.  Part of the problem is that dead leaves still cover the hillside.  They not only made walking difficult, but covered the ground so thoroughly, even  an axehead couldn’t have been seen, even if such an item had been there.

So I may do the walk again after a heavy spring rain washes the leaves away.  And  this time, I will do it the easy and the legal way: sans dog.

Categories: ecology, History | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Puppy in Training

My puppy Bella is not happy.  Come to think of it, neither am I.  We’re both being kept on a short leash; the dog by me and me by my wife.  The reason the dog is on a short leash is that she pulls when we walk and we needed to put a stop to it.

The pulling was not a big deal for me since I outweigh our little beasty by more than 100 pounds and can keep her firmly in hand even as she strains her 70 pounds of muscle against the retractable leash I liked to use.  That’s not to say I liked her pulling and, as chief cook and dog walker around our house, I was trying to get her to stop in my own way and while taking my own sweet time doing it.

Unfortunately, my wife could not afford to be as patient, mainly because she is not as strong as I am and quite petite.  During those times she took the dog, the dog often ended up taking her for a walk instead of the other way around.  That got her worried that the dog might pull her down or get out of her grasp.

So, we’ve switched leashes and now the dog is on a short tether and is kept firmly by my side at all times as we walk.  Today was the first day I’ve walked her like this and she is confused and maybe a bit unhappy.  She’s still willing to walk and I do give her some slack when we get to a spot with lots of good smells.  She continues to pull and I continue to keep her close by my side to keep her from pulling.

My brother (who trains dogs and agrees with using a short leash) said it will take some time to break her of the bad habits I’ve let her develop.  Walking may not be as much fun for either one of us but it’s the way it needs to be–at least for a while.  I’ve gotten used to being on a short leash and she will too.

Now if I could only find a way to keep her from jumping. (I’m open to suggestions.)

That’s it for now, folks.

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