A good thing to have when hiking in the country is a walking staff. I made my own a long time ago but it disappeared for a time. I was mystified, wondering what the heck happened to it. Maybe I just thought it disappeared in order to justify buying a new fancy one at the powwow. The new staff was topped with a cleverly carved turtle, with "real" eyes. It was the cutest little guy, ever! Almost as long as I am tall, it was made of lightweight wood, which means it is not much of a weapon. I could probably protect myself from a snake, but even if it proved to be entirely worthless, I would use it to defend myself against a cougar attack. (It could happen!)
I left the staff leaned against the front door, where it was handy. If it fell over (or was knocked down) Duke assumed he was free to chew on it. So, the cute little hand-carved turtle first lost an eye, then his entire head. Now he is truly gone, and so is the leather strap.
I continue to use the headless walking staff, especially when it is icy. It has kept me from falling several times already this winter. The best use of it is to keep peace in the chicken realm. When Big Hen begins pecking everyone else at the feeding trough, I mete out justice with a mere wave of my sorcerer's staff. I simply, majestically, place the end of the staff between the victim and Big Hen. It is so highly effective at peace-keeping that the three little black hens gather at my feet like feathery hobbits. Shepherding the entire flock is easy with the staff. I merely place it before them to guide them in the desired direction.
I use the staff to keep an irritating dog out of my personal space. I only have to point the staff at Jake. I can reach through the fence to nudge a snotty little mare's hind end when she needs to give Wally some room. No animal is ever struck with the staff. Just the fact that I can suddenly reach into their space without any effort - like magic - is enough. It is a marvelous tool and...I might look a little bit like Gandalf the Grey striding about in Middle Earth...