Bike ride to the Farmers’ Market with Tom

  • tom-marketLesson from Tom: Dogs like to have jobs
  • Tom says, “It gives me a sense of purpose”

The air is warm with a slight cooling breeze and the sun shines down on us warming our backs. Tom trots beside me while I leisurely ride my bike along a low-traffic route that is easy, flat, and enjoyable.  During the summer months, Tom and I bike ride to the Main Street Station Farmers’ Market every Wednesday afternoon. Tom loves these outings. Knowing him, it’s for a number of reasons. Foremost, Tom likes to feel that he has a job. He enjoys the discipline of trotting at a constant speed and distance beside me. He feels useful when we get to the market because he can guard the bags of purchased vegetables that I leave on the lawn beside him when I go into the stalls for more shopping. He especially likes the treats that I give him after coming out from the stalls, rewarding him for a job well done: blueberries, carrots, cauliflower…

For the ride, I use a longer than normal lease in order to give him slack. We don’t want to accidentally bump into each other, so the longer lease gives him room to move around if he needs to. Because the trip is about 3 km each way, we take rest stops and I let him roam around off-leash in Strathcona Park which we cut through en route. I carry water with me and give him some when we arrive at the market, and again before setting off for the trip home. He’s a black dog, so in the summer months he does get warm in the sun.