It's hard to believe, but my Barley girl turned 9 on the 9th of December. I was a terrible dog mom and I signed Rye up for an agility trial that day without thinking about the actual date, so Barley and I celebrated a day early with a solo adventure.
Barley's favorite ways to celebrate anything involve being the center of attention where she can get love form as many people as possible. Rye prefers to avoid Stranger Danger and often keeps Barley from being doted on appropriately. Barley and I started our day with a stop at my new favorite Ohio brewery, Sibling Revelry. They have a nice patio for good weather, but dogs are also allowed inside the tap room. We ordered a flight of beer and Barley soaked up attention from the other beer fans. She was especially happy when a couple walked right by a yellow lab without batting an eye and then stopped to pet her and tell her she was wonderful.
Then we hit the road to try out a new park. Our Doggin' Cleveland book listed Rocky River Reservation as one of the top 50 dog walks in the Cleveland area, but it didn't have a very appealing description and was towards the bottom of the top 50 list, so we'd never tried it. Earlier this year, though, my mom had sent an article about dog monuments to me and there's a monument to Smoky, the first certified therapy dog, in the park (how could Doggin' Cleveland leave that tidbit out?!) and we'd been wanting to check it out for months.
It took a while to find the monument. There weren't clear instructions on any of the map apps on my phone or any of the websites we found mentioning the statue. For a while, I didn't think we'd actually find it. We eventually just parked and walked for a little while so that we could at least enjoy the trail.
After taking a short stroll, we went back to the car and drove in a different direction. This park is a long, skinny park that runs north and south for about 13 miles and I wasn't particularly interested in driving from one end of the park to the other since we'd entered around the middle--thankfully, we chose the right direction and after several miles we found a parking lot right beside the statue of Smoky.
Barley seemed to really enjoy having a solo adventure and it was nice to try out a new park, which is really close to one of the trial sites where Rye sometimes does agility and both dogs do scent trials, so we have a new place to walk if we have long waits in between runs.
It's hard to believe that my baby girl is already 9. I have trouble thinking about that number. Thankfully, Barley is still so happy and healthy and vibrant and always ready to go out and do anything I want to do. Our walks might be a little slower than they used to be, but she still loves getting her 3+ miles a day. She still loves playing on the agility course and doing scent trials. So, I'm trying not to think about that number at all. Our let our vet think about that number during our check ups, but I'm going to just focus on the dog beside me and try to convince myself that age is just a number.
We've got all kinds of adventures planned for the next year, so I have a feeling 9 might be Barley's best year yet!