We crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa last week and then spent a week back home in Louisville with family. John’s little sister, Shereen, was married to her amazing fiance, Matt, on Friday and John performed the ceremony. After the time we spent with my family back in May, we were so happy to celebrate with John’s family. There seems to be balance in everything and it was incredible to be home.
The shock of suddenly being back in our house with our friends and couch and cat was jarring. It was like we had just been gone for a long weekend, and we slipped right back into a strange routine of somewhat normal life. Although we were “taking time off,” there was still a lot of walk-related work and errands that needed to be taken care of: New business cards needed to be ordered, web maintenance and info needed updating, emails needed filing and responding to, the car had to be re-organized to prepare for our support driver, we are continuing to seek sponsorships and funding, and most importantly, Max and Grace needed their 1,000 mile vet check.
What we are doing is not easy on ourselves or our dogs. While we have been fairly confident that Max and Grace are handling the trek like champs, there is always that concern in the back of my mind that perhaps we are asking too much of them. Most people are incredibly supportive, but there always seems to be that small handful of folks who are convinced that we are abusing our dogs. It can be hard to brush that off at times, even after we have worked with a vet, trainer, and canine nutrition specialist to make sure that Max and Grace are as well looked after as humanly possible. Like people, every dog is different and they aren’t all suited to walking 20 miles a day over and over again. So, we went to visit our home vet, Dr. O’Grady at Barbour Lane Animal Hospital, for their check-up.
The last time we had Max and Grace in to the vet was just a couple of months before leaving on the walk. We were excited to have the same vet perform their exam so we could get the full “before and after” assessment.
We are thrilled to report that both dogs are doing great! They are not only very healthy and fit, but according to the vet, they are clearly happy. Coats are shiny and sleek, hearts are strong, feet and pads are awesome, and their weight is perfect. We couldn’t be happier. Apparently, this life suits them.
Before we left Louisville, we managed to catch up with many of our good friends. Even though we only lived there for a little over a year before starting the Walk, we made lasting ties to a lot of good people. We even managed to catch up with our favorite local artist, who was so excited about our trip that he offered to make small art gifts for us to give to people who help us along our path. Daniel’s art is simple, understated, and always inspiring, and we are thrilled to spread it out into the world.
We are back to the road today, this time with a support vehicle for the remainder of the walk. When it gets hot, we will let the dogs rest in the car. We will be able to safely manage the heat, keep the dogs safe and cool, carry enough water, and visit facilities that are too far from our path to reach on foot. The car also gives us a little additional security for weather emergencies and other unforeseeable circumstances.
For the luxury and safety of having a support vehicle, we owe a huge thanks, welcome, and round of applause to Jon Slater and his co-pilot puggle, Old Brown Dog. Welcome to the team!
Although having a car is a hit to the pride, our parents are appreciative and may sleep a little easier at night (but probably not.)