Backpacking Through Columbia

...well, through our neighborhood anyway. When your dogs are almost half your size and you walk them together, it quickly turns from a stroll to a trot.

We've had a lot of trouble with the girls pulling terribly while on the leash over the years. They are very competitive with each other so they hurry to get "there" first. Their walk time is the best part of their day so they pull to see how much they can see, smell and hear before we go back inside.

With my fibromyalgia walking the girls can be pretty painful. Imagine already hurting to your bones and then having a 60-pound black lab decide to pull your shoulder out of its socket. Not how I want to spend my morning, that's for sure.

So Bailey has a job on our walks now. She is my little Sherpa dog. This doggy backpack is possibly the best investment we've ever made. When it has some weight tucked inside, she doesn't pull as hard, and not for nearly as long. It tires her out quickly and by the time we get back to the house I've got a slack leash and they're ready for their morning nap.

The backpack that we have has several pockets - we use the largest ones for water bottles and a collapsible bowl. The idea isn't to have water along the way all the time, but to weigh Bailey down so she's really working hard. Otherwise we'd be in Lexington County before lunchtime. I can't say that's a run I want to take anytime soon.

It also has smaller pockets for treats and the ever-necessary plastic bag. In the end she's carrying a couple of pounds with her, which is just enough to tire her out but not put too much pressure on her. Whoever invented this little gizmo deserves a hug.

So at the end of our walk I have happy puppies, tired puppies and an intact body. One little modification to our day and it's so pleasurable for all of us.
If you're having this same difficulty on your dog's walk, try a lightly-filled backpack and see if that doesn't make a difference. Your puppy and your body will thank you! It might even get you out there more often!


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