Perhaps this post would be better titled “Lesson Learned from my Dog”, but the emotion that inspired this picture was definitely joy.
One of my 2020 goals is to daily walk ALL the dogs; we have 4 and I’m not the Dog Whisperer so they mostly get solo walks which takes time. They do enjoy their Mommy & Me time, but if you want them to move their butts, walk any of the boys with Elly, she whips them into shape with her Speedy Gonzales moves. lol.
As chaotic as the times currently are (at this moment Las Vegas is in lockdown mode, The Strip is closed (last time this happened was ONE day, back when President Kennedy was assassinated) and all non-essential businesses are closed) the dogs need their walks more than ever.
I need them too.
Something I’ve learned over these last few weeks though is that the walk is truly for them, they NEED this time outdoors, exploring their world and simply living life. I see on social media so many people going stir crazy and actually being bored, which I can’t fathom, but think about it – that’s how your dogs feel every day when you leave to go to work or simply be out all day. All they have is these same 4 walls of your house, I bet they can’t even see out. I know they can’t in ours, my husband ensures that everything is locked and closed up tight when we leave.
You bring everything to their day: the outdoors, attention, food, play, happiness and love…so of course they are excited to see you and need time with you.
Back to the lesson I learned – what do I mean by the walk being for them? Well, I go where they want to go. I break the pack leader rules and I follow them and let their nose lead the way. It’s not about staying on the sidewalk, keeping them at my side and going round in circles to get them exercise – for my guys that’s like running on a treadmill in the house with no TV on, how boring. My dogs are hunting dogs, they need to cover ground and HUNT. We circle bushes, we double back, we stop and start and we definitely stalk pigeons. lol
It means that after our time at the park and before leaving Nicklas and I take a break and sit down on the grass, soaking up the breeze, the scents, the shade, and people watch. The joy and contentment felt in these moments oozes off of him. (That was this picture.)
Larkin LOVES people and his wish is to say hi to every single person that goes by so I’ve started calling out to people as we get close “Okay, if he says hi?” so they aren’t startled or as I see kids dying to touch him but mom has told them not to pet strange dogs, I say “he’d love it if you wanted to pet him”. It doesn’t make for a fast walk but it makes people smile and Larkin is so sensitive to energy he won’t try to go up to people that aren’t “dog friendly”.
I listen to what they are each saying and I do my best to create a space for them to experience joy.
What has resulted from this is I’m happier. It’s about the experience, not the time, how far we walked or how fast. Giving them the moment and watching them have such joy is beautiful. I truly love our walks together now, they are no longer a chore.
They have all learned now that they get to leave the house on a fun adventure every day and the excited anticipation in their faces is magical.
Another side benefit is that it makes working from home much easier and more peaceful when you walk them first. 🙂