We went out the back for Kenzo's first 15-minute walk of the day. I already had him leashed with his "Halti", to prevent him from dashing through the garden, and thereby risk a new injury to his tendon. Especially in the morning it is difficult. Both Kenzo and Viva always launched themselves as rockets through the door, straight towards the bird-house, in an attempt to surprise attack a squirrel that might be in it. They found out if their attempts paid off, once they reached the bird house. But usually it was empty.
Kenzo never caught one, but Viva caught two squirrels this way.
The squirrel family in the back garden have already gotten used to the new situation, and when I get out with Kenzo, they won't move until we literally are only feet away. They are getting more and more bold, and we have a visitor nearly every other day. They will come to regret that later on when Kenzo is fit again, I thought when we passed the bird-house.
Suddenly a squirrel jumped from the bird-house, and Kenzo launched himself towards the speeding creature. Instinctively I loosened my grip on the leash attached to Kenzo's "Halti". That's how dogs get hurt. But Kenzo made an abrupt stop, and watched back at me. I was still standing, looking horribly worried what he would choose to do next, and still faced the backyard's gate.
He took one last look at the squirrel, and quickly returned to me, in hopeful anticipation to get through the gate, and start his walk. "That's how much you miss your walks, huh. You would even give up a good squirrel hunt for your walk, big guy?". I talk to him a lot more these days.
He must know it only will take 15 minutes before we are back again. But he never stops hoping. Every time we leave for a walk, "Maybe this time you will take me for a good walk!". I hate to disappoint him. Four times a day. Every day. For the last three months. "Well, we can have some extra sniffs this time, Kenzo!", I say, while I repeat in my thoughts a hundred times, it is for his own good.
When we reach the point in our walk where Kenzo notices we are on a path that would return us to the house again, he brings on the charm. With excellent heel-work, glued to my side, face up, looking at me, "See dad, how much fun we are having?". He is cunning, and proves me wrong again, when I said, he wasn't a pleaser.
The closer we get to the house, the more slow we go. Kenzo's head goes down. He is alerted by branches that move in the wind. Grass is sniffed extensively, and he points in different directions in an attempt to suggest alternative routes. He is trying to avoid the unavoidable. The walk is already over.
Almost back, Kenzo gives up and we quickly make it to the driveway and through the gate. At the door, Kenzo takes one last look at the bird-house. Maybe next time. Maybe the next walk, will be a good walk again. "It will, big guy. It will".