I’ve always been a morning person, and for our weekday schedule it has worked out nicely in that I take the morning puppy shift. Since P works downtown, he tries to leave by 6:30 am to avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic which means a 5:30 am wake up call. Since Kona’s arrival, our morning ritual involves P heading downstairs to get Kona up and out in the backyard for a bathroom break, while I get dressed and ready to face the day. I’m downstairs by 5:45 am and then proceed with feeding Kona. Until recently, we’ve been out on our walk by 6 am.
These morning walks are one of the best parts of dog ownership for me. It is so peaceful to be outside in the early hours of the day, just you and your dog. The air seems fresher and more crisp and there is an overwhelming sense of quiet and solitude. It sounds a little corny, but even walking around our suburb I feel “at one with nature” on these early morning excursions.
Kona tends to be a bit more relaxed and attentive at these times compared to her afternoon walks which makes the entire experience a lot more enjoyable. Not surprisingly, there are much less people out in these early hours – at most we will cross paths with 1 or 2 dogs and another 2 or 3 joggers or walkers on a given day. Who we run into depends on the path we take, and the exact timing of our departure. If we leave 1 or 2 minutes later or earlier than normal and we see an entirely different set of people and animals.
As the days get shorter, the amount of darkness during our morning walks has increased. Last week on an overcast day, our entire walk was in darkness. While I enjoy watching the sun rise, for safety’s sake I’d much rather be out in daylight instead of darkness. I’ve begun postponing our walks to try and get some daylight in them, but can only do that for so long. And of course, when Daylight Savings Time starts, it will only get worse!
Thankfully, between P and I we have a pretty good supply of “safety” devices to wear when running in the dark. We’ve outfitted Kona’s Gentle Leader with a blinking red light and I wear a head lamp (sadly, no longer can I tease P about his nerdiness when he wears one).
These early morning walks have given me an opportunity to learn more about our neighbours and the neighbourhood in general. Some things I’ve discovered lately:
- A surprising number of people forget to close their garage doors on a given night. This makes me feel better about the times I/we have forgotten!
- Very few people are awake at 6 am, but by 6:15 the number seems to double.
- There is a very small number of homes that put their garbage out in the evening. Their green bins are always ransacked by racoons.
- The number of morning runners decreases dramatically as the weather cools and the mornings get darker (not surprising).