Gail Rheinheimer and Cookie
A girl and her dog, back in the woods together at last.
The Day Hiker was a little choked up, there soon after we got well onto the trail and she let Cookie off her leash in the woods for the first time since late October, 2010 best I can tell from looking back through these dispatches--when she was referred to as being "gimpy."
This day, on the Woodthrush Trail, Gail said: "She's so young, and she missed so much." The dog is about to turn three.
"It's just like it was yesterday for her," I said, huge dog expert that I am.
The dog underwent several knee operations that fall of 2010, and maintained a limp or hop till maybe six months ago, and which continued to come back after any walk of two miles or so even beyond that time.
But with a short, nearby walk picked for this day, The Day Hiker had decided this was the moment for Cookie's return to the woods.
Up the start of the Star Trail, on along the side-of-the-mountain Woodthrush Trail, the dog maintained her usual in-the-woods approach--leading sometimes, running off a ways sometimes, trailing sometimes.
On the Ridge Line Trail, on a warm humid day, she trailed pretty consistently, and the tail lowered a little. In the shade near the Mill Mountain Visitor Center, maybe 100 yards shy of our lunch spot, she sat down and had to be cajoled to take on that last stretch.
And after a good 45-minute lunch rest, during which she was far less pesky about wanting your food than in the old days of 2010, Cookie was fine on the shorter-walk way down.
And nearly symptom free once she got home, aside from a little after-sleep stiffness in the leg.
Just great to have things to look forward to again . . . stinky dog blanket in the back of the car, food begging, hearing The Day Hiker gush about what a gooood dog she is . . .
Star, Woodthrush, Ridge Line trails loop on Mill Mountain. About 4 miles.
How to get there: Star Trail is just off Riverland Road near Bennington, in Roanoke.