“Where should we walk today?” my dogs seem to ask. “Over by the garbage cans, or around that tree?”
I make a point to take it slow, give the dogs a little slack, and let them explore.
We take many walks. Sometimes the walk has the purpose of getting somewhere. Often the walk is for exercise. Other times it’s obligatory–my pace quickens, just get it done. But my favorite type of walk is the walk of discovery. A dog lives his life through his nose, and Ernest and Pete love the leisurely walk where they get to veer off the path and poke around and sniff. This, to them, is a giant birthday party full of exciting things to do and taste, and (maybe not so much like a birthday party) pee upon. Their noses lift in the air and tails spin like helicopter rotors. I just follow along at the other end of the leash. We have a fenced yard where they can run free, but sometimes I feel bad that they can’t be off leash on our walks. It must be pure doggy bliss to take indirect, illogical routes.
Recently I found a benefit of getting out of my regular routine–the smells are different at different times of the day. Once when we went out at dinner time, we were greeted with the doggy-intoxicating aromas of baked chicken, beef barbecues and hot dogs. The smells are also better during, or at least just after, a rain. Such fun!
My granddaughters often come along for the walks. I love that they’re learning about what dogs need. I love that they take meandering leisurely walks with us. While the dogs explore with their noses, the girls explore with their eyes and hands. They pick up little rocks, pine cones, and, sometimes, trash. They watch the dogs explore, and ask questions, and we share little observations. A walk can be so much more than a walk.
Where does your dog take you for walks?
*with thanks to Vicki Cook for the title suggestion!