Walking with Liam

When our dog, Liam, was young, Clif and I would take him for several walks during the day, and all told we would cover about seven miles. Even then, that wasn’t really enough exercise for our lively Sheltie. Fortunately, we have a half-acre yard fenced in, and he could run like crazy around the perimeter, making a track that a friend dubbed “the Liam 500.” Oh, Liam was an energetic dog. And he stayed energetic for many, many years, wowing friends with his wild racing in the backyard.

Blindness, however, has slowed down this once active dog who loved  to be outside from dawn to dusk. Nowadays, Liam only wants to stay out long enough to do his business. As for racing around the backyard—those days are over, and the Liam 500 is no more, completely filled with grass.

We still take Liam for walks several times a day, but we are lucky if we go for a mile, total. Nonetheless, the walks are enjoyable.  Liam sniffs, I look, and even on a short stretch there is always something to see on our country road.

Now that it is fall, the air has a nutty smell as the leaves and the acorns fall. Crickets jump by the side of the road, and chipmunks scurry to fill their pantries. Even on a gray day, the woods are bright with yellow ferns, and in mid-October in central Maine, the leaves are a blaze of orange and red.


On our walks, I spot those little stars of autumn twinkling in the tall grass.


In the woods, I notice a fallen log with lichen.


I admire the variegated mat of leaves on the side of the road.


Then it’s back to our very own yard.


These short walks are a good reminder that no matter how close you are to home, there is something to see, something to notice.

23 thoughts on “Walking with Liam”

    1. Thanks, Jason! This weekend is peak color for central Maine. Hope you get some color soon.

    1. Yes – isn’t that the truth? It’s so hard to watch our friends get older. But we change up our routines and figure out how to make the best of it all. Best of luck to Liam and all of you.

      1. Thanks so much, Jodie. We are doing our best, and Liam does seem to be adapting. Poor dog!

  1. Good for you to take Liam and ‘see’ the world with his nose. He gave you so much and now you give him a good time in his old age. And isn’t fall absolutely beautiful? Hugs for Liam and yourself xoxox Johanna

  2. Kind of another gift from Liam- by walking at his pace you get to notice things more deeply than if you were walking quickly with him as he needed when he was young.

    1. I was thinking of you and that gathering when I wrote the piece. I remember how amazed everyone was that Liam was eight.

  3. Zoe slowed down tremendously during her last months and could only go for short walks before tiring out. But those walks–although tinged with melancholy–still gave her (and me) great pleasure.

  4. Beautiful autumn pictures and thoughtful reflections. A dog’s sense of smell is very powerful, so those strolls are undoubtedly a stimulating part of his day, and as long as he knows your beside him, he will feel safe. Good for you for taking the time and patience to share the autumn scents with your old friend. Xo

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