Walking dogs is stress relieving... Really?


Illustration by Jenny Lamont

In which DD experiences firsthand the blurring of the lines between domestic and non-domestic animals

Just back from a manic walk with the dogs. What made it manic, you ask? We were enjoying a stroll in the park next to the fire station where they have a mini farmyard when, as luck would have it, we spotted a loose chicken. Argggghhh! Talk about a heart-stopping moment – and not because it was such a beautiful bird.  

Sammy, who looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, turned into white lightning and took off faster than the eye could see. I didn’t know chickens could fly and I suspect neither did the chicken but, thankfully, she managed to fly off just in time not to have a small white Morkie on her butt with a mouthful of tail feathers. Off went Sammy (it’s an off-lead park) and the chicken, tearing after each other… heading worryingly towards the very busy road.  

It was pointless yelling like a woman possessed (although I was and did) and, as I am prone to do in moments of total panic, I closed my eyes. I guess you could say I was chicken; maybe it’s my variation on being an ostrich with its head in the ground.

Eventually, just as we were relieved not to hear the screeching of brakes, Sammy came trotting back, a joyful and unconcerned look upon her fuzzy face. Talk about a good reason for “why the chicken crossed the road”.

Once I had Sammy firmly in my grasp, Aaron hustled off to see if he could find the poor chicken whilst I had visions of arriving at the vet in a stricken manner with an injured, and unknown, chicken under my arm! Fortunately, said chicken was fine so we proceeded with our “leisurely stroll”.

And then, so as not to make the walk any less exciting (we wouldn’t want to get bored), a little further along both Sammy and Ali spotted a bunny loose in the veldt, hop-hopping along. Once again, there were Aaron and I yelling at the top of our lungs and feeling really bad as we watched two dogs tear-arse after a poor bunny! Thank the Pope the bunny was faster (maybe it was also thanks to the chicken that had already tired Sammy out) and knew where its hole back under the fence was. Jeepers – these afternoon excursions are taxing on a middle-aged person who doesn’t usually do “run”!  

Thankfully, the rest of the walk went by without any further roaming wildlife, leaving Aaron and I deep in our thoughts of what a close call that was for all concerned, and Sammy and Ali in deep thoughts of how tantalisingly close they’d come to actually snagging a chicken and a bunny. Definitely the stuff that dreams are made of for them – and nightmares are made of for me!

And they say that walking dogs is a stress-reliever… I think not.