Having adopted a dog has changed my daily routines, all for the better. I have data – our daily walks, medium in the morning, long in later afternoon, short at night, have taken my daily walking from less than 1 mile per day to over 5 on average.

Each time I put on Felix’s leash, I wonder outloud, “what route should we walk today? We did the loop past the mailbox yesterday, and we’ve done the Cleonna Road route the last 3 nights…”

While I cannot understand Felix’s cerebral response, I am going to project my ideas and say that dogs do not really care about the route. They could walk the same exact route 3 times a day and never get bored. That’s because, without the nuisance of the human intellect, their entire being is in tune with, intrigued by, and continually observing their surroundings.

We higher order evolved beings, however, spend so little time paying attention to what is literally under our feet, in front of our eyes.

On each walk, the light is always different, the contrast, the shadows. The vegetation changes, the pink wild flowers are in their prime, but with each day, the lupine wild flowers are starting to go. While I have noted their presence, I have started looking for the places they dominate, here this morning, an old jeep trail in the forest, the flowers have taken over the road.

The lupine have reclaimed an old road.
The lupine have reclaimed an old road.

Just notice the shapes of branches, it looks different at different times of days.

Just a dead tree leaning? Majestic
Just a dead tree leaning? Majestic

Each step we take, crunching small rocks into tinier ones, smushing tiny ones into soil, each step plays a small role in changing the landscape.

The best part is going ahead, not back.

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It’s not all nature. Each house I pass, different. Many of them empty, as most are vacation homes. Some with manicured yards, others overgrown with grass and weeds, some with odd sculuptures or tacky signs. Just the walk around the block are so many details it will take a life time of dog walks to see them all. And I would still fall short of “all”.

A funny thing happened two days ago. We walked the neighborhoods up the hill on the opposite side of Fossil Creek road (our main road, it bisects a valley, I leave on the north side). Rounding a corner on the farthest reach where we could go, Felix and I met Christy, who turns out to be a dog trainer. She took an active interest in Felix, and invite me over yesterday to learn more about him and to offer some tips (she’s an agility trainer and a dog food expert).

I’ve already alluded to how much opposite advice you can get from dog “experts”, a reminder for how to critically think about any expert’s proclamations. We were talking about local veterinarians as I must make a choice soon. I mentioned the one that three different friends with dogs strongly recommended. Christy’s face crinkled a bit- her favorite vet was the one the others said to avoid, Dr. G is old school (his office is a barn) and she had bad experiences with the ones my friends liked.

And while we turn to opinions, how often to we have to deal with sorting out things like this?

The diversity of  opinion
The diversity of opinion

Having a new dog is fun. And rewarding. And it’s making me see my local world a tad differently.

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And anytime I can offer advice to someone (not that they always ask for it), my advice is now G.A.D.


Top / Featured Image: This morning’s dog walk with Felix, he is always teaching me about observing the world around us. Not yet uploaded to flickr, but when it is, you bet your best dog bone this will be licensed Creative Commons BY-attribution.

The post "On Dog Walking" was originally rescued from the bottom of a stangant pond at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2016/04/on-dog-walking/) on April 24, 2016.

1 Comment

  • John

    I love going on the same walks repeatedly. Opens the eyes and ears to shifts in weather and season. There is always something new along the old path.
    Glad you are having so much fun with Felix. I spend half my walks looking jealously at dog owners.

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