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08

We all get tired of talking about politics. So let’s talk about dogs. Specifically, walking with dogs.

Thanks to the mysterious workings of Facebook, something written 18 months ago popped up on my feed. And touched a chord.

It was an August 2015 column by the N&O’s John Drescher, “Walking in all seasons with the best dog ever,” a heartfelt tribute to a departed Golden Retriever named Holly who, John wrote, “led me every night to my Island of Peace. I’ll still walk every night. But it won’t be the same.”

My walking companion is a seven-year-old rescue named Ringo. He’s a “Lab mix,” with the emphasis on “mix.”

He is, verily, a creature of habit. Every evening at 5 pm, he expects dinner in the dish. Then a greenie to clean his teeth. Then straight to me with a mission, as John wrote: “Walk. We must walk.”

I get the leash and we’re out the door. Up to Ridge Road, then left or right or straight across depending on whatever internal GPS guides dogs.

I get no exercise benefit at all. For we must stop every 10-20 feet to sniff. Ringo, like most dogs, is essentially a nose on four legs.

The benefit comes when I surrender my human nature to his animal wisdom. Ringo doesn’t walk to get anywhere or do anything special. He just walks. To see, to smell, to be outside. To meet people; he’s sure they all want to meet him. And, best of all, to meet dogs. His friends Cooper, George, Sadie, Maybelle, even the tiny and dreaded Olivia. Or to meet new friends and engage in mutual butt-sniffing.

As I blogged before (“Dog Zen”), Ringo is my mindfulness teacher. He isn’t thinking about work or money or chores or problems or plans or the past. No, he is outside. He is walking. He is happy in the moment.

As John wrote, any decent theologian or philosopher will tell you that walking outdoors is balm for the soul. But only a dog owner can tell you how inner peace awaits at the end of a leash.

Somebody should get Trump a dog. It’d be good for him, the country – and the dog.

 

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