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We’re fat! But it’s peak hiking season in the Inland Northwest

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    Do you ever get that feeling like none of your clothes are fitting?

    And no matter what you do, no matter how many times you put the fork down or say no to dessert, nothing seems to be working?

    That’s where Bella and I both are right now, I think.

    She gets over it a lot quicker than I do … because that’s what dogs do.

    But I do have to pay attention to her health for her, because I want her to live a long, happy, healthy life.

    Next Thursday is Pet Obesity Awareness Day

    Bella and I are turning over a new leaf.

    We’re going to be more active and we’re going to be more conscious of what we’re putting in our faces. That’s tough with Bella because she can be rather demanding when it comes to breakfast time, dinner time, coffee snacks (my coffee, her snacks) and evening desserts.

    And I am a sucker.

    Large white dog stares intently at a lick mat covered in fruit

    Of course, we’re also still fresh from a long period of inactivity following her TPLO surgery. I could’ve gone out on the trails without her while she was recuperating but who in their right mind goes hiking without a dog?

    Just like in humans, obesity in dogs can lead to health problems. (She’s not obese but she is chunky.) Overweight dogs are susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems and a shortened lifespan.

    In addition, a fit and healthy dog is a happy dog. Regular exercise also contributes to mental stimulation and emotional well-being.

    Dogs need exercise to release pent-up energy and reduce anxiety.

    You know what? That sounds an awful lot like me, so Oct. 12 isn’t just pet obesity awareness day, it’s Hey, Angela, Get Off the Couch Day.

    Actually, October is Hey, Angela and Bella, Get Off the Couch Day.

    Life usually has other plans

    You know it’s true.

    Essentially, I’m running three businesses and maintaining a part-time job. Big White Dog Photography is my passion in life, the pursuit that brings me joy. One Last Network, a podcast and the place where I coach other professional pet photographers about pet loss grief, gives me purpose and helps me heal through the losses I’ve experience. I’m also a freelance writer for a friend’s podcast and social channels, and I work about 20 hours a week as a copy editor at The Spokesman-Review.

    I probably have ADHD. Or I just like to stay busy and purposeful.

    A busy life, though, means a lot of things get neglected.

    Like getting outdoors and hiking with Bella.

    large white dog shakes off water while standing in the Spokane River

    That’s about to change.

    Seasons with Big White Dog Photography fluctuate and, after attending the Shutterhound Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, I’ve decided to take a step back from the hustle of hunting clients to work on some personal projects. The other businesses and jobs … well, I have to make time for them. I’ve made those commitments to other people and I intend to uphold them.

    I also made a big commitment on Aug. 29, 2014, to make every day of Bella’s life adventurous.

    I have failed at that many times over the last nine years but that doesn’t mean I can’t do better today. And tomorrow.

    Peak hiking season?

    Oh my friends, the deadly hot heat of the summer is behind us.

    The temperatures have cooled down quite a bit and it’s safe to head out onto the trails with a big fluffy white dog.

    The wildfires are out, the air is clear and the skies are blue.

    The leaves on the larches are turning a brilliant gold and the maple leaves a bright red.

    Bella and I are waiting for our new Discover Pass to arrive in the mail but that is only keeping us from going to Washington State Parks. The rest of the world is our oyster.

    We did Post Falls Community Forest yesterday and heading up to Stevens Lake in the Silver Valley of Idaho on Sunday.

    Large white dog stands in tall grass during a hike at Post Falls Community Forest

    And we did a hefty 7 miles on the beach in one day last week during our annual retreat to the beach in Oregon.

    The Old Growth Cedar Preserve in Rockaway Beach is a great 1.1-mile loop to get start to the day. You wind through lush rainforest to the oldest cedar tree in Oregon.

    Maremma sheepdog sits on boardwalk at Cedar Grove in Rockaway Beach Oregon

    Then you hit the sand and surf.

    Large white dog sits on the beach in front of the Twin Rocks at Rockaway Beach in Oregon

    Many miles to go

    We’re two old gals. Bella’s 9 and I’m 52. That isn’t going to stop us.

    Exercise becomes even more crucial for us as we age, especially our dogs. While we may have to shorten the distance or avoid rougher terrains, there’s no reason we can’t still pound out some 5- and 6-mile hikes in the wilderness of North Idaho and Eastern Washington.

    We may need a bit more time on some trails.

    We may need to throw out our nopes on some trails.

    And that’s OK. As long as we’re doing it together.

    I may even take my camera for some trips. Stay tuned.

    All around the circle

    While I work on my (super top-secret) personal projects, this space may look more like a diary of Bella’s adventures.

    And oh yes, I will still be working with clients. More importantly, I will always be available for clients who need me for end of life pet photography sessions. Your moments are too precious for me to say “no.”

    But I will be more focused on keeping my promise to Bella and trying to satisfy the wanderlust that lives in my heart … and hers.

    In the meantime, my fellow pet photographers are blogging about fitness this week. Jump into the circle with my good friend and Northern California pet photographer Kylee of Kylee Doyle Photography with her favorite ways to help your senior dog stay fit.

    Click the link at the bottom of Kylee’s post to continue through the circle. When you find yourself back here to Bella’s adventures, that’s when you know you’re home.

    Right where you belong.

    And if you’re looking for your own adventure that’s close by in Spokane Valley, download my hiking guide:

    Find your next adventure

    Download your copy of our 5 Favorite Close-To-Home Hikes and subscribe to the Big White Dog newsletter. You’ll be the first to know about news, promos and model calls!


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    4 thoughts on “We’re fat! But it’s peak hiking season in the Inland Northwest”

    1. P.S. You are not old.
      Hiking is one of my favorite things to do with our dogs, and you are right, who doesn’t take a dog with them when they hike? LOL.

    2. I get it! I just started working with a running and nutrition coach – my pants aren’t fitting lol! Its a struggle! Don’t say your old – I turn 50 in 4 months! ENJOY your hikes with Bella!!!

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