What I think of when I walk the dog.

A long time ago, an old girlfriend and I went out for a walk with her dog.  She tugged on him every time he stopped.  I don’t think either of them was very happy.

Recently, while out walking my dog, Nemo, a friend remarked that I wasn’t being very alpha. Nemo had veered off course, leading me to something that had caught his eye (nose).

This is a deliberate policy on my part.  I figure Nemo spends most of the day fitting himself around our time and our schedules, so when we go for a walk, he gets to be boss and decide what we do.  He can sniff for as long as he wants, and  choose the route.

I used to make the most of this “dead time” by phoning friends.  When I rang, they would ask me if I was out walking the dog.  It became a running joke.

Nemo always knows what’s going on, though. My wife’s old flatmate, Alex said he realized this when he came home one day in a funk and Nemo came over and put his head on Alex’s lap.  On the rare occasion that my wife and I argue, he’ll come over and nudge me, like a little kid telling his parents to stop fighting.

With Nemo being so intuitive, I figured he’d know I’m not engaged if I’m on the phone, much in the way I can tell if someone is typing when I talk to them on the phone.  So now I don’t do that.  I single task.  When I’m out with Nemo, I’m out sharing time with him, enjoying the evening light or the cooling of the day.  My wife and I take him together on what we call “family walks.” It’s transformed something that had become a bit of a chore into a daily meditation and precious time shared with a friend.