Try On Those Snow Shoes!

Posted on 02/07/11 17 Comments

Last week my friend Lynda and I went for a walk with the dogs. Yes the snow was close to a meter deep (that is about a yard for our American friends) but the dogs didn’t care — they wanted their walk!

Now walking up and down hills around the perimeter of our snow covered 28 acre property may not sound like fun to all of you, but hey, it is February and it is Canada, it is what it is:).

Plus, I have my ultra modern, spanky-doo snow shoes which prevents you from sinking down into the snow as far — making walking more than fun! Every time I put them on it reminds me of my grandfather. My grandfather was a missionary amongst the Cree Indians in the far northern most part of Ontario. He had only dog sleds and snow shoes to get around back then (early 1930’s) so I don’t think I have it too tough taking a short walk with my dogs.

However poor Lynda has no snowshoes and I have pretty much stopped offering her mine. She has just always refused to try them — I really found it strange. Now you may say it is because Lynda is kind and she just doesn’t want to take my snow shoes and leave me without. Yes, I would agree that may be part of it, but even when she goes walking without me she refuses to wear the snow shoes. So weird.

It doesn’t matter that wearing them will make your job a lot easier or allow you to enjoy the nature around you so you aren’t just “enduring” a trudge through the snow drifts. It is just that, walking in  snowshoes is a different adventure and hey, why not embrace the chance of every new adventure you can?

So last week after our latest dump of fresh snow, like the good friend that she is,  Lynda was up to help me with the puppy and we decide to go out for a walk. Half way around our walk Lynda is in pain. The snow is up midway up her thigh, her heart rate is approaching that of a pediatric on a racing treadmill and the hill ahead of us now looks like Mt Everest to her.  Of course me and my show shoes are trucking along quite happily.

Once again I offer the snow shoes, once again she says she refuses to try them. So I take off one and just strap it on her – telling her to start with one. With a few minutes she concedes to wear them both. It is like a new birth. She is positively giddy, she can’t believe the difference they make and like a kid with a new pair of roller skates she is off. She exclaims “this is so easy, I can run!” as she takes off leaving me in the powder of her snow:).

I got an e-mail from Lynda that night saying she had just ordered her own pair of snow shoes.

Lynda with the show shoes on a flat part of our walk — notice the snow up the back of her pants showing the tougher terrain she had hiked through.

So what has this got to do with all of you. Lynda has been the focus of a lot of lessons in the Say Yes program.

As a student she volunteered for everything she could here at Say Yes just to surround herself with much dog training as possible. Eventually she was a regular in the kitchen and behind the scenes. As the years progressed and her dog training excellence was obvious I tried to get her to teach. She always refused. Once again I had to “strap on a single shoe”

I started by getting her to do demos then asked her to “assist me” with a class. She was brilliant, a natural teacher with amazing observational skills. As a matter of fact a lot of the changes in my program are due to Lynda’s great observations.

I tried to get her to teach a class of her own — again no luck. Again I strap on a single snow shoe, I get her to assist me with a class without letting her know I would be missing more then one class along the way were she would have to take over head instruct the group all on her own.

So this has morphed to were we are today. Lynda knows my program as well as I do and she teaches seminars all over the world. Yes she is running in those snow shoes.

Still she is sometimes reluctant to try new and completely different adventures. Personally I think it is the perfectionist in her. She is so good and so many things, she is more reluctant to jump into something when she can’t predict how perfect she will be able to do it but at least she eventually comes around and puts on the snow shoes.

Being a risk taker may be natural to some of us but it can be a learned behaviour for the rest of you! The more you put yourself out there and strap on new challenges the more you will discover things that may have appeared difficult at first but are really just one new skill awaiting for your mastery and in fact can enhance your life dramatically.

Lesson for the day; we all need to go and try on our snow shoes. It could be your coach trying to encourage you to try a new handling move or a fitness instructor believing you can “do this” when you don’t think you can. Or it may be much more radical that that, like keeping a male puppy when you really only ever wanted a female:). Whatever it is, embrace the unknown and try it, you will never know how much in may improve your dog training, agility handling or life!

Today I am grateful for Lynda who is not only a great friend, great dog trainer and great instructor of people; she is also confident enough in herself to allow me to talk/write about her journey allowing so many others to benefit from her experiences along the way.


  1. astle says:
    Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 8:24am

    That’s a great post.It is safe paws from ice. it is very helpful for walking in ice area.


  2. Christine says:
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 2:32am

    Well I am like Linda too I guess. Sometimes it is what I was taught as kid but most often it is fear of the mistakes I might make and that might cause harm.
    I do not want to cause, so I stay with what I know.
    So it prefents me from being better or even helping more.



  3. veronica says:
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 9:36am

    How about trying “cross country” ski’s ?Given the slope on the hillside……perfect!

    What a truly beautiful place.


  4. Dawn says:
    Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 11:01am

    Thank you, Susan, for strapping on Lynda’s single shoe! I have learned so much from both of you!


  5. Christine says:
    Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 9:38am

    Just like the snow shoes help balance the weight and make the walk different, I think that is the same in your relationship, you both help balance each other.


  6. Penny Mead says:
    Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 7:49am

    Lynda is luminous … generous and genius, what a combination!! And her observations are brilliant! And all so apparent from the very first moment I met her in Sydney a few years ago now. Susan and Lynda you are a blessed team!


  7. Lynda says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 9:21pm

    Susan is right 🙂 out of my comfort zone and trying something new – is kinda exciting! My new snow shoes arrive this week and Im excited to say Im looking forward to a double lap around the property! They did make me giddy!

    I too am grateful for Susan who I’m in awe of her risk taking adventures…and who is a patient teacher and friend with me… when I have to feel the temperature of the water first before diving in!

    Thank you for sharing your snow shoes!



  8. Mary M says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 8:57pm

    Lynda the snow shoes look like they were made for you!


  9. denise says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 6:23pm

    Lynda is great! Such a wonderful, fun instructor and really is a credit to your program and a great ambassador for it. Love the snow photo….13 days until I fly over to Canada for some cross country skiing… can’t wait!


  10. Kathy Smith says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 4:18pm

    I can SOOOO relate to Linda!!!! Only my person strapping on the snowshoes isn’t a single person.. it is life itself. I turn around and there is nobody there so I put on the snowshoe reluctantly and out of necessity.
    Linda is very lucky to have someone to give her a bit of a nudge! I can so relate to her wanting to stay in her comfort zone but I think sometimes life gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want.
    You are a very good friend!!

    Vancouver Island


  11. Kathy says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 4:10pm

    Lynda is an AWESOME instructor! She’s funny, insightful and explains things really well-so glad she strapped those shoes on!


  12. Wendy says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 3:22pm

    Great story, and hits close to home! I’m the risk taker of most of my groups of friend, but I’m not always the supportive one to strap on a single shoe. Sometimes I forget that people need encouragement, or that they’re not naturally the same “temperament.”

    It’s funny how we’re so accepting of different temperament and conformation and breeds in our dogs and horses, and so appallingly select in our acceptance of different temperaments and conformation and breeds of humans, isn’t it?

    Here’s to strapping on that shoe for my friends, and to being grateful for them letting me figure that out over the years.


    • Susan says:
      Monday, February 7, 2011 at 4:00pm

      Great observation Wendy!


  13. Shelley says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 1:08pm

    Gotta love the Lynda – she is one cool chick!


  14. Clyde says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 12:10pm

    You could add “put on your single snow shoe” to the “are you two of thirty” saying.


  15. Jan V says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 11:42am

    I think the relationship has been mutually beneficial, and it is so wonderful to share this gratitude publicly. I have been a very lucky beneficiary of both your and Lynda’s personal instruction, and am also grateful.

    Thank you both for allowing me to try on a snow shoe!


  16. Jodi Altman says:
    Monday, February 7, 2011 at 11:35am

    LOH is superb, in so many ways.


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