10 dogs, 8 people, 5k—mission accomplished
That day just happens to be today, Sunday, 29 April, and they invited WordPress users to come along too.
The deal is to do the five kilometres—any way you like—and blog about it.
Poor John and I do 5k walks several times a week, so I figured I’d have to increase the degree of difficulty a bit to make it special.
Aggie, whose picture graces this blog’s banner, whispered in my ear and suggested a dog walk with all his friends.
How could I refuse a request from one who lives beyond the Rainbow Bridge?
Chiyo, our remaining mutt, was delighted. So I got on the horn and consulted with the minders of Louie, Bailey, Scout, Poppy, Arty, Zara, Maggie, Tash and Merlin. Yep, they were all keen to come too.
I checked with Elisabeth to see if Eduardo was interested. He’s a no-nonsense kind of cat, but Elisabeth was pretty sure it would end in tears, probably for one of the dogs.
We didn’t even have to think about where to walk. Lake Burley Griffin is the centrepiece of Canberra, Australia’s national capital. This manmade lake was created in the mid-1960s by damming the Molonglo River.
The then Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, was committed to having the lake and instrumental in making sure it happened.
The lake is about 28 kilometres around but the circuit around the middle, and between the Kings Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue Bridges, is exactly five kilometres, and a very popular place for walkers, joggers, cyclists and more.
So eight ‘parents’ and 10 dogs gathered at Blundell’s Cottage, which is near the Carillon. After each pooch got a bit of Smacko, we set off westward along the RG Menzies Walk.
As an aside, every deceased past prime minister has a suburb in Canberra named after him—every one but Menzies because he insisted he did not want one. No suburb, no street, no park.
But he never mentioned a walkway, so some clever-clogs thought of naming the path along the north shore of the lake the RG Menzies Walk, to highlight Menzies’ own commitment to seeing the lake become reality. The story goes that during the planning stages of the lake and when Menzies was overseas, someone cut funding for the project. Menzies had a fit when he found out and reinstated the money.
Our entourage drew a lot of wide-eyed stares and comments, and Merlin’s high-pitched yapping turned plenty of heads—we should have had a ‘no we’re not torturing him’ sign. He has a special collar that dispenses a shot of citronella when he barks but, guess what. No battery!
Obviously with all the people and other dogs to greet, cyclists and Segwayers to avoid, scents and bums to sniff, poops to clean up and pee-mails to leave, we were all strung out for most of the walk.
We did, however, manage to gather by the statue of RG Menzies himself, out for a stroll but without a pooch. So we looped Maggie’s lead over his hand and got a group shot of the mayhem. I’m missing because I’m the photographer.
All in all, the outing was a complete success. It was a glorious autumn day—a light breeze, about 18°C and beautifully sunny—and a whole lot better than blustery Wednesday when we did the same walk.
Nobody bit or was bitten. Nobody chased the swans. Poppy, who is ancient and diabetic, made it all the way. Merlin stopped barking. Louie, Bailey, Tash and Maggie drank water out of a plastic bag. Chiyo resisted lunging at all the other dogs we encountered. So everyone earned another round of Smackos. Plus John (not Poor) found $1 on the ground and I found an unopened water bottle.
Hope everyone enjoys the scenes of our walk and the lake. If you aren’t Australian, did you know our swans are black?
So thank you Automattic for instigating such a worthwhile outing. Same time, next year?
P.S. For anyone who is hungry after all this exercise, check out what’s cooking on page 32.