Unless it is pouring rain outside, I take Winston for a walk every day. He needs it; some days it’s like he’s the Energizer Bunny and there is nothing that will stop him running from one end of the apartment to the other and terrorizing our cat in the process. Other days, he is happy to curl up next to me on the couch while I spend the afternoon getting lost in a book. Those days are rare. Very rare. I know for some dog owners, walking their dog is a chore, but my husband and I love taking walks and having Winston as an excuse to go on a daily basis is pretty awesome.
Luckily, because we live in an apartment and Winston does his business out front, he hasn’t really nailed down when we’re going for a walk and when it’s just a potty break. Thus, it’s fairly easy to get his harness on. If it’s cold, though, putting on his jacket is a fight to the death until it’s on, and then he loves it. Some days, I imagine all of this is preparing me to deal with a flailing two year old that not only flails but also speaks. Sufficiently armed with poo bags, keys, and treats, we then head outside.
When Josh and I first moved here, we weren’t sure how we were going to meet our neighbors. After we got Winston? I have met more neighbors through taking that dog to the front door than we did at the all-you-can-drink-on-a-Tuesday holiday party they threw for the building back at the beginning of January. Once, I met a woman who lives on the 3rd floor when she yelled out the window that she loved my dog. We then proceeded to have a five-minute conversation about his name, how old, what kind of dog, and how we were so lucky and he was adorable.
I am really glad we semi-know our dog owning neighbors, but the best part is seriously going for a walk. Every day, I spend a glorious forty-five minutes of Winston-walking unplugged. I don’t listen to podcasts or music and only very rarely talk on the phone. At first, this was because I needed to watch Winston like a hawk to make sure he wasn’t eating gravel, leaves, sticks, plastic…anything he could fit in his little puppy mouth. Then, it was because I was busy training him to walk on a leash without tripping me, and those who know me know I need no excuse to trip. If there’s an untied shoelace – be it mine or someone else’s – chances are I’m going down. Now, it’s just because I get to see things.
In the last week or so, all of the little crocuses are popping up, the trees are getting buds like crazy and it is deliciously lighter earlier in the morning. Even the grass is getting that electric green glow after growing new leaves. For a writer, seeing things is especially important and for a while there, I wasn’t paying nearly enough attention to the outside world. I was too busy thinking about that to-do list I’m constantly mentioning or weighing the next step I could take to get out of Unemployment Land, that I was going through the day without seeing the small things I used to see all the time.
I’m not one of those people that advocate throwing away all things technology – I am on Facebook, Twitter, own and abuse a Smartphone and now I write a blog – but it is good for me to take time to be away from those things. It’s fun to step out of the second-by-second news cycle and daydream about what our future house will look like, where we’ll be when we hit 30, where I want to travel and anything else my brain feels like thinking about.
If I had to consciously remove myself for almost an hour from technology, I’d be wondering what I missed. Taking a walk with my little baby family (minus our cat because he would hate us forever) is the perfect reason to slow down and see the world. Not too shabby for walking the dog.