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A dog’s life — walking my owner in St. Vital

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I’ve been taking the alpha male of my pack for daily walks. I’m having a problem seeing his face because of his belly. His increased girth has gone unnoticed for the summer. He tells people he is walking to give me exercise. The real reason is  hockey is starting and I’m tasked with the job of reshaping my human for the season.

I take my master’s pursuit of physical activity very seriously. With me on a leash and my two-legged friend carrying a small plastic bag, we have been wandering the neighbourhood, enjoying a variety of walking opportunities. To ensure I don’t break his spirit, the selection of the ideal walking area is important. He prefers nature parks. I like the city’s paved trails.

We have visited Maple Grove Park Off-Leash Dog Area at St. Mary’s Road and the Perimeter Highway. I can let him off the leash in this area and cavort with other four-legged animals for my own exercise. However, I discourage him from taking me to these parks because I have a puppyhood fear of big dogs and it seems I get more exercise than him.

The field at Parc Okolati Park is not available to enjoy. A housing project is now consuming the land tucked in between St. Mary’s Road and Sandrington Avenue, just south of Novavista Drive.

The condo complex promises to preserve the natural forest and grass that was once a city park, but new fire hydrants are of little interest to me. Maybe the building will have siding with prairie grass motifs painted on them to remind me of the fields that were there.

As I pull my owner’s leash south on St. Mary’s Road, we pass Henteleff Park. This piece of land adjacent to the Red River was officially designated a park in 2002. Henteleff Park is for passive recreational use and doubles as a city tree nursery. Native vegetation, rows of ornamental trees, wood chip trails, benches and interpretive signage are available in this tucked-away urban green space.

Our most ambitious outing is on the south St. Vital trail, almost three kilometres of paved path bordered by St. Anne’s Road and St. Mary’s Road.

Our neighbourhood has some unique selections of locations if walking is your choice of exercise.

My paws don’t work too well on the computer, so get your owner to do an Internet search for "Winnipeg trails" if you would like more details. Remember, I have to keep the old guy’s heart rate up, so don’t encourage me to stop if you see me out pulling him.

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