Tag Archives: Stella

Sunday in the Park with Stella (again)

It seems my only substantial walks these days are with Stella. I didn’t used to need a dog to go for a walk – but a walk is a walk and Stella is always good company.

Stella’s mom (my sister Sharon) and I wandered around Terwillegar with about a thousand other dogs. I’ve never seen so many dogs – tall dogs, short dogs, brown, black and blond dogs, racing dogs, ambling dogs, ball-dogs like Stella. Everybody getting along, everybody happy to be outdoors on a beautiful day.

In my estimation, we are having another crap winter, by which I mean a roller coaster of freeze and melt, and a lot of grey, overcast days which always leave me feeling blue and lazy. My memory could be faulty, but we’ve had more “warm” winter days in the last two or three years – where the melting snow leaves giant swaths of ice once the temperature falls (which is always does) – than we ever used to have. Maybe a bit of a melt in late January or February, but really only one or two episodes. Now, rain is a regular feature of our winters. On the surface, this would appear to be a good thing, but also on the surface is ice. Lots and lots of ice.

Sharon retrieving the ball that Stella lost down the hill.

My dream winter would be short and mild, and by mild I mean around -5C to -10C. Not too warm, not too cold, with just enough snow and lots of blue skies. Not what we get these days, which is black ice, grey skies, and annoyingly timed snow (like when I’m driving).

I also think that because I walk a lot less than what I used to, I’m not out finding ways to enjoy it. In 25 years of walking in the ravines and river valley of this city, I’m not sure I ever had one walk I regretted. I always found something beautiful, even on days when all colour seems sapped from the landscape. That’s what’s missing. I’m not out actively hunting for beauty.

Well, today was beautiful. Yes it was.

About 0C. 

Christmas Eve Day

Stella makes her case for a walk

I write this more than a week past my last ‘good’ walk and on my last day of work for the year. It’s Christmas Eve, and while I am here until noon, there is not much going on, so…

And also, this may prove to be my one and only post from December 2018, but I hope not. Surely there will be some walking opportunities over my week off? You see, that’s the difference between Donna pre and post 2011, when I moved over to the south side. Before, I would create the walking opportunities. It was very rare that I didn’t walk five or six times a week, even if it was just the short 25 minute commute home to Mill Creek. Now, I seem to wait for the perfect weather, or I don’t think about it at all. Sigh…

Stella and I in Whitemud Ravine

Funny how habits, ingrained habits, can vanish if the circumstances change. I moved out of my very walkable neighbourhood in 2011 to move in with Sharon’s family for a year, and I stayed for six. And now, back on my own for eight months, I’m still struggling to regain my old habit of making a daily walk my top priority.

In any case, last Friday, December 14, my office gifted us with a day off, a ‘shopping day’, and so while I did hit a mall at some point, I still managed to drive over to my sister’s place to take her dog, Stella, for a walk in a deserted Whitemud Ravine. It was almost creepy how deserted it was, and gloomy. It was book-ended by two beautiful blue sky days, but Friday was overcast and it felt very dark in the woods. Glad I had Stella with me for this reason, and a million more.

We had a good time. I wore my micro-spikes and they were extremely helpful. The trails are quite icy from the warm weather and occasional rain mixed with snow, which seems to be the norm these days. Stella, as usual, wore her naturally spiky nails.

A walk is a walk, though, and we had a good time.

I don’t remember what the temperature was, but not too cold. Probably around -2C.

Terwillegar Stella

Stella posing in front of sculpture

Part of Resonant Progression, by Royden Mills

Finally, a clear blue day. The last week has varied from shades of grey to orange. Mostly orange, thanks to the fires in BC. Most of those days, the sun has been a gold orb. You can stare right at it and not go blind. Sunday, however, the skies cleared. It was a spectacular day. Lots of wind, but I’ll take that over a burnt orange horizon.

Stella doesn’t care, although she loves her orange balls. We went to Terwillegar dog park because it’s a great walk, but also because the new public art installation has opened up – Resonant Progression by sculptor and UAlberta sculpture instructor Royden Mills. Interesting, but difficult to fully take in without some background. It’s interactive, interrelated and involves sound, but the only one who interacted with it was Stella. I will investigate further and return, ready to interact.

The walk was uneventful but beautiful, with some crispiness underfoot and a few daubs of yellow in the canopy. It’s inevitable. Autumn is on the way. Stella loved the river, as usual, and only lost her ball 5,000 times. A good day. A very good day.

11:00-12:00/20C (28C today!)

Walking with Stella

Whitemud Creek after 40mm(?) of rain last night

This post, on the first Sunday of my last summer vacation week, is just a bunch of photos from my walks with Stella in Whitemud over the last week.

Torrential storm last night, so the creek was high and the foliage glistening with water droplets. It’s been a wet late July and early August. I am savouring every moment of summer.

Last Thursday evening

Terwillegar with Stella (walk #4)

Terwillegar off-leash

First walk with Stella at the Terwillegar off leash yesterday (Sunday).

It was awesome. I mean, really wonderful.

Stella and ball

It’s been more than a year since we’ve been to a dog park. Maggie loved them, Terwillegar especially, but she was too incapacitated by arthritis to go very far in the last year of her life. The last time we took her, we almost had to carry her back to the car. But she still had fun splashing and yipping in the river! Like Maggie, Stella loves the water.

Although Sharon and Vic have only had Stella for three weeks, she has, thus far, shown surprisingly few issues. She’s not aggressive with other dogs or humans, she mostly comes when she’s called, and she knows how to play. And play. And sleep. Whatever her provenance, I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve abuse. Her only issue is a fear of abandonment, which is entirely understandable, having been abandoned after six years by her previous owners. She stays pretty close to Sharon and is a bit howly around men (sorry Tom), but other than that, she’s a wonderful dog. She doesn’t have the joyfulness of Maggie (or the attachment to me), but maybe that will come.

She also attacks water hoses. But that’s only a problem for the hose. And her teeth.

Stella (with friend) and Sharon

Sharon, Stella and I walked the periphery of the park, stopping many times to throw the ball. Along the way, Stella lost the ball in the bushes or to other dogs, but each time managed to get it back. The dip in the river was fantastic. She made friends with a border collie which had similar colouring to her as well as the same ball. They tag-teamed playing with the ball, or in Stella’s case, losing it in the river. We got it back though, thanks to the collie’s dad. It was so nice to watch a bunch of dogs playing in the river again.

The sky was blue or overcast or rainy or sunny, depending on the minute. But still nice and cool, after a week of hot, dry temperatures.

About 15C/10:00 to 11:00(ish)