Meet Marley! I met her this morning on my walk. I was thoroughly enjoying the cool morning mist and trying out my new poles for the first time (I’ll fill you in on those later) when I saw a golden lab-type dog in the road. She was standing in the middle of the street in a residential area right off the main-drag.  When she saw me she started limping toward me. I turned my head, shifted my poles to a one-handed carry and walked in a slight curve, doing all those things you are supposed to do to communicate friendliness to a dog. She came close but didn’t like the poles in my hand. Once I put them down  I was able to pet her shoulder and get a look at her tag. It said Marley and had a phone number. I asked “Are you Marley?” in my best high, squeeky voice, and she  frisked around me in a circle with her butt tucked under like Rob does… no more limp.

I talked to her and watched her a few more minutes and she seemed fine so I called the number on her tag. A man answered right away and didn’t seem surprised about where she was. I told him what intersection I was near and he said he’d be right there. In thirty seconds he was, he came through a gate right across the street from where we were standing. She ran to him and he clipped a tether onto her collar. He thanked me and I told him about the limp. He said, “She does that all the time. I had her checked out the first couple of times, but she only does it when she is charming strangers.” I took her picture for you but she kept looking straight at me until the camera was ready to shoot and then would quickly look away. I assume the phone-camera’s red-eye dot is the problem because Rob does the same thing.

So, about the new poles, I just bought these on Amazon and they got here in two days! They have an improved hand-strap system that means you don’t have to grip the handle. They also come in fixed lengths so no worries about them folding up on you midway.  I admit I never had that problem with my Leki poles but some people complain about the telescopic poles not staying put at the selected length.

After I ordered them, I received an email asking me to call the seller,, and tell them my height. I am 5′ 5.5″ so the seller said I’d need 115 cm poles. I had been setting my old ones at 110 cm like I had been told back in 2000 but I think there have been a lot of changes in the sport since then. The new ones are made by Swix. They are beautifully made and I did notice less stress in my shoulders and neck with the new hand-straps. I am looking forward to using them more.