Deep Thoughts / Dogs / Happiness / Learning / Life / Physical Exercise / Sage / Walking

A Lesson My Dog Taught Me.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that a universally accepted truth is that one of the easiest ways to make a dog happy—aside from giving their chin, belly, ear, or other sweet spot a good scratch—is to take them for a nice, long walk. If, on this walk, you let them sniff random trees, pee on a few yards, and maybe chase a cat or squirrel or two, so much the better. You will have one happy pooch on your hands.

I have to admit, I’m pretty surprised to say I learned from my dog. She’s not exactly the sharpest crayon in the box, you know? She’s goofy, she’s clumsy, but she’s all mine, and I love her to bits. And today, she taught me an important lesson that I think we can all remember. A walk is not something only a dog can enjoy. The person holding the leash (and keeping the dog away from garbage or skunks) can enjoy it, too. I certainly did.

Most people who have read my blog before or interacted with me in any form know that I am not a morning person. I always give this warning, because it’s very, very true in my case. I don’t just not like mornings, I do my best to skip them by sleeping through them. Lately, being out of school and not having a job yet, that’s been particularly easy. Unfortunately, the person I date works normal hours, and so he goes to sleep at a fairly decent time. Especially on weekdays, we usually sleep apart because he goes to bed and gets up sooner than I do. This meant that after we’d gone out for supper tonight and once we’d gotten back to the house, he was starting to get tired while I was still feeling fairly bright-eyed. So when a mutual friend texted me and asked if we wanted to go for a “random adventure walk” (her words, not mine), he looked iffy.

“You don’t have to go,” I said gently. I’d already decided I was in—a walk of some kind, particularly with a friend, sounded like a good idea.

He hemmed and hawed a bit, then finally said, “Ennhh, I’ll take a rain check.”

Couple minutes later, I got up to go to the bathroom (always wise before leaving on any endeavour, really) and was talking to Sage—my dog—about going on a walk in a silly voice. You know the kind of voice I mean. The one you use when talking to a cute animal or cute, small human being.

Duncan, being the perceptive guy he is, noticed and glanced over. “Yeah?” he said, asking if I was going.

I nodded, pleased with the decision. When the friend showed up, we tossed our bags into my place, hooked the dog on her leash, and headed out in whichever direction we wanted.

We walked—and talked—for three hours, give or take a couple sitting breaks. We wandered over footbridges and walked across train tracks that hung over a river. We ogled houses we can’t possibly afford. We climbed a massive, nasty set of outdoor stairs and stood above a set of train tracks as a train zoomed past underneath us, loud and bright in the quiet dark night. Through it all, Sage happily stuck her nose into various plants and such, and we two humans talked and talked.

You can talk about a whole lot of stuff in three hours while walking through a city, provided anonymity by being one of the crowd. We each discussed things that the other knew about vaguely through our connection with Duncan—he’s the reason we met. As it turns out, we each had very intense summers in 2011 and faced some potentially life-changing situations. We talked about those, we shared things we’d told no one else. We went from being just friendly with each other to, I believe, actually being friends. Each of us lives with or in close proximity to males; we had time to be with another woman. Girl time.

And now I’m home, sitting on my bed, and my feet are aching, my whole body is pleasantly tired, but my mind is alive and humming, and I’m content right down to the soles of my sore feet and right through to my soul. She’s leaving for Korea in a couple months, but you know what, that’s okay. We’ll stay in touch (in fact, I’ve been told that if Duncan and I get engaged while she’s in Korea, she needs to know, by email, right away, and we are not allowed to get married until she comes back or is able to get time off). And when she comes back, we’ll pick up on the random adventure walks where they left off.

My dog is happy and so am I, because she reminded me of a simple pleasure in life that I’d forgotten about. Thanks, pooch.
Even if she’s wrong, she looks pretty happy.
Thanks, puppy dog.
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