For as long as I can remember, I have been walking dogs. I have vivid childhood memories of holding the leashes of dogs that were taller than me. Natasha walked with me the first time I was allowed to walk in my neighborhood without an adult chaperone. Tynan walked with Jason and I on our first date. I have viewed the wonders of the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls walking with dogs. Going on a walk is one of my very favorite activities but without a dog, walks are boring. When I didn't have a dog, I didn't walk very often or very far. I would borrow friends dogs, walk my mom's dogs, take my rats out on a leash or Gryphon for a walk on my shoulder but walking just isn't the same for me without a dog.
Having read article upon article and study after study about why walking is good for humans and for dogs, none of that science or those statistics have helped to get me off the couch. There has always been something about feeling that I "have to" walk the dogs, that has forced me to do what is also best for me. Obviously, I am not a very disciplined or self-motivated person. Dogs have always given me the push I need to do the right thing.
Simplicity is also something I have learned from a lifetime spent with dogs by my side. I am a very simple person. I don't need much to make me happy. Dogs don't need material things to find joy either. On a recent dog walk with family, my Aunt joked about the old rope she was using as a leash. "We have a ton of leashes," she laughed, "We just can never find them when we need them." My cousin explained that it wasn't just any old rope used as a leash but one found on the shore of a river. And guess what? The dog didn't care! That happy golden retriever just kept right on walking and smiling even with what basically amounted to trash attached to it's collar.
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I have walked dogs my whole life, been inspired by dogs to walk more often, farther and faster, as well as learned from dogs that nothing has to be complex. yet there are only two healthy things that the dogs and I can do absolutely anywhere at anytime. One is walking. Dog walks can be done absolutely anywhere! With the exception of situations that are unsafe for humans and/or dogs, you can always, always go for a walk. As an adult I have walked my dogs thousands of miles, in nineteen states and a couple of provinces. My dogs and I have walked at dawn, midday, dusk and at night. We have walked in sparkling sunshine, torrential rain, pounding sleet and deep snow.