The Capital City Trail throws a 30km loop of sealed car free paths around inner Melbourne. There is no better way to get to know Melbourne and its landmarks. Source: Bicycle Network.
Today we left Frankie at home to keep Ishka company and took Bolo and Czar for a walk on part of the Capital City Trail - a shared pedestrian/bike path that loops around the city. We parked alongside the river just near the Swan St Bridge and walked north (as marked by my terribly wobbly red line). At this point, the trail follows the river, but is just as wide as the bike trail and river bank. We had a beautiful sunny day, blue skies, and a low level of traffic on the path.
zar and Bolo (muzzle in place) were really keen to be out and about. We use semi slip flat collars for this kind of free walk, and the dogs lean into them so much that the "I'm choking" sound effects are very dramatic. Of course, being huskies, their only thought is to keep going- they don't even seem to notice that they're nearly strangling themselves.
As we got close to one of the boathouses, Czar and I stopped for a second to practice his recall. He wasn't having a bar of it! There was walking to do! Plus, J and Bolo had gone down onto the pontoon and Bolo had dived into the water to try and catch some ducks. Ducks?!?!! Czar was pretty desperate to get down there too. Result: two wet swimming huskies!
Neither of the boys are genuine water lovers, so we hadn't expected them to take a dip. We only had our DB Scooter leads with us, no flexis, so there was a limit to how far we could let the dogs go. I did ponder letting go of the leash, but I could see both dogs chasing those ducks out into the current and getting into trouble when the ducks took off. Either that, or getting over to the other side, scrambling up the other bank and taking off through the gardens of the river side houses opposite.
Both dogs paddled strongly for a while before deciding to have a break, but getting out of the water proved VERY challenging! The pontoon had a very solid edge, relatively high above the water. Bolo and Czar could get a leg up, but struggled to get out without assistance. J and I were both quite damp by the time we fished them out.
Out of the water, Czar looked incredibly thin, with his coat plastered to his narrow hind quarters. I'm used to seeing this kind of sleek, athletic body in the racing lines, such as the Snofall Siberians, but not in the show lines or pet lines. (Our guys sit somewhere between racing and pet lines.) Many of the show dogs have their coats fluffed and pouffed up, and I struggle to see their physique through all the padding. The last pet Siberian I saw (in Adelaide) was so fat that the poor thing waddled and panted to walk up the street. I looked at Czar's hind quarters and wondered if someone might report us to the RSPCA for starving our dogs. Then he shook himself off and his coat fluffed out to his "normal" proportions.
Bolo's softer coat showed the benefits of the double coat - after he shook himself off, little tufts of his white undercoat were visible on his back, soft and dry between the glistening black guard hairs. Even after a thorough dunking, twice, his undercoat was surprisingly dry!
We walked on for about an hour, enjoying the warm but not too hot weather. The dogs did eventually loose their edge and Czar even managed to do some obedience practice. There were a few cyclists, most of whom were good at signaling before they passed, so we could reel the dogs in. A few joggers too. Czar did try to sniff at one lady as she went by (his nose is annoyingly at crotch level) but she was kind enough to pat his ears and keep going. Otherwise, the boys were very good at ignoring the distractions on the trail, and being well behaved.
The exception was the row boats. There were a couple of two man teams out on the water, and Czar was fascinated - did he think they were giant ducks? We convinced him to walk on with a little difficulty.
By the time we retraced our steps back to the car, the boys were very happy to chill out. Bolo flopped down in the car and wasn't even interested in having his muzzle taken off. They spent the evening tuckered out in their crates and barely moved! A good effort!