My (furry) motivation to get outdoors

September 08 2015


My heart’s a little broken at the moment, because my four legged partner-in-crime, Scout, can’t hack the pace to run with me anymore. She recently turned ten and seems to have decided that she just can’t be bothered with all this galloping along (unless there’s a bunny about, but that’s a different story). We’ve been on so many adventures together, both urban and outback, but these days she has a more sedentary outlook on things.

I first picked Scout out from a swag of PLEASE ADOPT ME photos posted on the internet by the Auckland SPCA. I wanted all of them. Oh those puppy-dog eyes…but Scout’s mugshot was truly pathetic. A tiny weeny 6 week old mongrel, sitting on her own tail and shivering in her cell. She had to be mine.

I was living in Central Otago at the time, so she had to be flown from the North Island to the South. I remember selecting the deluxe doggy cage online, filling it with toys and treats to occupy her on her first of many adventurous journeys. Picking her up from Christchurch airport, I felt like a new Mum…and oh my, she was adorable! A big mistake was letting her out of the cage, thinking she would curl up on my lap as I drove – but no, of course she went bonkers, pouncing joyfully over all the seats, yipping and sniffing and bouncing off the ceiling. So we turned off the highway and bumped down a dodgy side road to the deserted pebbly shore. We picked our way over the boulders to the beach, and widdled together companionably. There’s so much fun ahead of us, I told her, as she gambolled over the rocks. She followed me faithfully then, and has done so ever since.



Scoutie has always been a precocious wee thing, living up to her namesake Scout (Jean Louise) Finch, from Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The hairy little mung mung thinks she has to be doing exactly what we’re doing – whether it’s sailing (yes she has her own life jacket), surfing, hiking, whatever – she’s in, and she never fails to bring her manic excitement along to rev us all up. I find it hard to believe that she’s slowing down, and as you can tell from this post, it’s made me go all nostalgic on it! I just feel so grateful to have this smelly, hairy, naughty, jumpy, bunny-chasing, loyal bundle of fun in my life. She has been my motivation to get outside on many a stormy day. She has made me feel safe on remote trails that I might have thought twice about running on my own. And I swear that she smiles up at me when we’re hoofing it along together – she suffers from cabin fever even more than I do! Running with your dog is really rewarding for both of you (or wrestling, or hiking, or body surfing…) – but I think I owe it to her to suggest a few more sedentary walks from now on, too.

If you’re thinking of adopting a dog to get outdoors with – I really can’t recommend it enough. You’ll develop an incredible bond. Keep an eye out for a future post with tips to get the most out of kicking the cabin fever with your furry friend – if you’ve any particular questions you’d like answered, please comment below.