When Pearl was alive one of our greatest joys was our walks. When we lived in Maidsville we walked the rail trail along the Monghelia River, Cooper's Rock and around town. When we moved to the Hideout in the Poconos we walked all over our development. In Lake Ariel we trolloped up and down the roads, Pearl occasionally visiting her friend Biscuit the terrier who you had to be very careful with as you could break him and then you'd have no more friend. In East Stroudsburg we hit the Delaware National Forest which was the first - and last - time we ever got lost. And that would be about the time I acquired a compass. We moved back here and it was Friendship National Park with Charlene and Pearl's besties Sophie and Libby and of course our beloved Coopers Rock. After Pearl died I hung her blaze orange harness on the back of the basement door, I would catch sight of it and could see her twirling and barking in such great excitement to get going. She would get so excited David would have to take her in the backyard while I got our backpack in the car - then she'd come in and see that harness and lose it. It would often take both of us to struggle her into it, the entire time she'd be straining towards the door, then explode out of the house into the back seat of my car, barking with her head peeking out - hurry up!hurry up! After she passed for a long time I would lay my hand on that empty harness and my heart would contract in such sorrow, knowing I would never walk amongst the trees, my happy companion enjoying it with me. I did take Reuben a few times - but it was not the same and as much as I love him, not very relaxing. Molly has been over time been getting better - it's been a slow process due to her fright of new situations and our lack of time. But with me having Wednesday off I've been trying to make a point of taking her out. At one point I was going to get rid of Pearl's harness - but didn't. I could not bear to throw it away and even if I did I would just have to buy the same exact one. Since we do a lot of walking in the woods it's important for the dog to be seen. So last week we noticed that Molly has been getting better with strangers, she was OK with Nancy and did very well with Janet and Diane visiting. So David and I took both dogs to the little park down the road from us. It's only about two miles so Barffles the dog can make it without exploding in a sea of vomit, although he still will not get in the car under his own steam and needs carried. Molly had no problem letting me put the harness on her, she was a little unsure but not afraid. The first time in the park she did much better than I had expected. She was still a bit fearful of other people and dogs but seemed to handle it well if we took her off the path while they passed. We made a point of removing her from the situation but stayed close enough that she could still see and hear the other dogs and people. Reuben is not a good walking dog - he's a good field dog, great hunting dog but the entire time we walk he's straining at the leash like there's a herd of yeti hiding in the bushes. Molly walks beautifully and today, the second time we went - she recognized the harness and stood there to let me put it on, then got right in the backseat of the car, poking her head out the window eager for us to go. David and Reuben have come on the past two walks just so she'll have something familiar but I think in the next couple of weeks we'll be trying a solo walk with a busier park and hopefully by fall we'll be hitting the trails. I miss Pearl still - but it's nice to know there might be more hikes in my future and a friend to walk those trails with.