About the Author: Cody the dog is the companion of Tina Raybold, corporate director of public relations for the Masonic Villages.

Whenever my Mom gets out my leash, I get super excited because I know what that means … WALK TIME!!! While I enjoy visiting my canine friends in the neighborhood, my favorite place to exercise is at Masonic Village near our home in Elizabethtown. I know when Mom leads me to the car, that’s where I’m going (except for the few unfortunate times the car turned toward the vet instead).

As soon as my paws hit the walking paths at Masonic Village, my adventure begins. I love all the fresh smells, the places to “mark” (and yes, Mom responsibly brings a baggie) and people to meet. There are even other creatures to “hunt” like rabbits, squirrels and birds … but I stay away from the geese because they’re bigger than me, and quite loud. I often run into other dogs walking their owners along the paths, but after a thorough sniff and a tail wag, I let them continue on. After all, while this has been my hangout for the past six years, there are 1,400 acres to explore – no time for distractions.

We usually start at the formal gardens, where I investigate the numerous varieties of trees and flowers, which change with the seasons. The mist from the fountain is refreshing in the summer months. Then we head toward the Veterans Grove. I’m not allowed to “mark” there because Mom says it’s a sacred place to honor heroes. The trees offer lots of cool shade.

As we walk through the cottage and apartment neighborhoods, I greet people watering their flowers, running errands or gathering with neighbors. Everyone is so friendly, and most can’t help but pet me for a while.

Sometimes, if we go early enough in the evening, mom stops by the Orchard View Café for an ice cream cone. It’s not on her diet, but I don’t tell anyone. After all, she’s the one who holds the treat bag. And we’re working off those calories anyway, right?

Earlier this summer, Mom took this portrait of me in front of the Masonic Health Care Center. This is where we go toward the end of our visit when I get tired and need a rest. I like to call it my “massage parlor” since I can always find a sweet lady or gentleman who is happy to see me because I remind them of dogs from their past. I snuggle up next to them, and they pet me while they tell Mom all about their former owners (handsome, loving canines like myself).

I’m always exhausted on the ride home. It’s never too long before I take a nice, long nap and dream about the next time I get to visit Masonic Village!