Golden retriever puppy stares at a tennis ball

The Shire: South Farthing (Week Two)

golden retriever looks at tennis ballThe South Farthing is farthest Sam had ever been away from home.

Re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring,  I was struck by how often Bilbo and Frodo walk in the Shire.  Bilbo, is of course, known as the hobbit that seeks adventure.  But even upon his return home, he continues to walk often.  Frodo would often travel with him, but sometimes he would also walk alone.  It is on one of these journeys around town that he uses the Ring to avoid speaking to his neighbors.

Sam, however, does not appear to get out as much as his later traveling companions.  By the time they reach the South Farthing, Sam tells Frodo if he takes one more step, he’ll be the farthest from home he’s ever been.

On our walks this week, I think about that phrase a lot.  Where is the farthest from home I’ve ever been?  Could I pin point it on a map?  I don’t think I could be as precise as Samwise Gamgee, knowing the exact step.

Prior to the pandemic, we had made several road trips from our home in Las Vegas to visit family in central Texas.  Those trips usually required at least 18 hours of actual driving.  We would often make the trip over two days with our children and dogs in the backseat of our car.  Texas is probably the farthest I’ve ever traveled from home.

This week, our walks have us sticking much closer to home.  We visited some of our local parks and found new routes through our own neighborhood.  To our kids’ delight, we discovered a tiny, neighborhood park within walking distance of our house.   The park only has a few basketball hoops, walking path, and a swing set but its exciting that we can walk to it.  Prior to finding this park, we would have to get in the car and drive down a larger, regional park.

We did have the opportunity to get some training done on our travels. We worked on take/give training.  Merlin is learning how to perform this task in areas with lots of distractions and the park is a great place to do this.  There are lots of interesting smells, other dogs, kids, and tons of noise and movement at the park.


♬ New Soul – Yael Naïm

Merlin did wonderful and we’ve made it 27 miles this week.  While we haven’t had much opportunity travel far from home since the Pandemic began, Merlin is at least learning how to perform his tasks away from the house.  I for one, cannot wait to hit the road again!

Catch up on our journey!  Read our week one post here and you join the Conqueror Virtual Challenge yourself.  Tell us the farthest you’ve ever been from home in the comments below.

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