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Walking the Dog...

It occurred to me the other day, on my morning walk with my dog, that she and I have fundamentally different walks although they follow the same trajectory...

What I am experiencing and what she is experiencing are likely very, very different. Yet, we both get exercise, a reprieve from home life and its demands (which are also very different for the two of us)...


My walk is about pace and completion. I walk 12k steps a day or more. So mine is about getting the steps in, moving briskly and getting the 3.5 miles completed in less than an hour. I am in it for the outcome mostly (age is a great motivator as it turns out). This is not to say that I do not enjoy the vistas and views. I stop on occasion to photograph something that catches my eye: a bird, a view over the pond, a skyline wonder. I am present but a great deal of time I am consumed with thought, on the phone or listening to an audiobook. So my presence on the walk is spotty at best.


But Lulu is there every single time. Her walks are not about miles walked or steps accounted for...her walks are about squirrel sightings and the occasional chase when she gets away from me. She looks for the cat that chased her down the street several weeks ago...every single time we walk. She is interested in pooping outside her yard. The smelling the aromas only she can discern from all the other animals that have passed our route before us. She is interested in the ground squirrels and all their shenanigans. She is mildly interested in other people we encounter, always on the lookout for a familiar face. We sometimes run into my mom on our morning walk and so every woman with grey hair must be scanned to see if it might be her. She mostly avoids other dogs. She isn’t aggressive or mean, she just doesn’t, on the whole, like them. She thinks of herself more like a human in a border collie costume than fellow dog...


She is always glad to go, whereas there are more days than I would care to admit that I would rather languish in bed a little longer, or a lot longer. She is always ready and willing. Me I am more of an itinerant walker.


She is always in a good mood, whereas I am more of a mixed moody bag. I am often tired and worried about events passed, present or coming, often consumed and mired in my thoughts and feelings about my relationships with other beings. She just accepts that there are other beings and she isn’t all that concerned with any of them...except squirrels...they are mortal enemy numero uno! But I do notice that she alerts to the barking dogs behind fences, she knows they are there even if they make no sound. She knows they are there and lets her dismay at their presence be known. At one particular yard, she stops before we get to where the dog usually is...every single morning. She stops us in our tracks because she really wants to pick an alternate route. She makes her abrupt halt serve as her form of protest.


We have a good partnership, her and I, we walk, we experience wholly different things but we walk in solidarity to the mission, being out in the world everyday, taking in our world, the sights, the smells, the vistas and the weather. She just does a much better job of being open, present and available to all that comes to her...and I get to learn from her every single day of my life, on our walks and just being in her presence...


Turns out the world looks pretty damn good from the eyes of a dog...we humans could do better to remember that more often.




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