Stories on my Dog Walks

After a late breakfast, more like Brunch, I thought I was going to have a sit down and stare into the fire, it was Sunday after all and life was supposed to be easy.

I had three things I had to do this weekend:

1. Go to hot yoga class
2. Do a long meditation
3. Go for a long walk with the dogs.

The above were things that for some reason or other despite my good intentions, I hadn’t got around to doing for at least the last two weeks. These three things keep me sane and make me feel good in myself, so I knew I had to do them no matter what this weekend.

So here I was, midday on a Sunday, having already ticked the first two things off my list but still dithering as to whether the dogs really needed a long walk, or could they wait for my son or husband to do the functional walk with them in the evening; after all they had already had their morning walk.

Let me digress and go and talk about the first two items on the list. Anyone who has read my book ‘Octopus on a Treadmill: Women, Success, Health, Happiness’ will know that I digress a lot.

Item one, hot yoga class. I was pleased to be back at my yoga class after missing it for two weeks. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t recognise the instructor, and as it turned out I didn’t. The usual female instructor who had the calm relaxing voice and the body of someone who was born to do yoga had disappeared and been replaced by a man! I have nothing against male yoga instructors mind you but, I had secret ambitions of developing the toned and supple body of the female instructor if I kept up with my class. Now that she had been replaced by a man, I could feel my ambitions diminishing somewhat.

This instructor had a completely differently style. He started us off just doing breathing exercises for quite a while and just as I was beginning to think we were never going to move, he started introducing the movement. Everything was easy to start with; as usual with yoga they start you off with something easy like you are on all fours and before you know it, half your face is on the floor, your bum in the air, your left arm is splayed to your left, somehow holding onto your left foot with your right arm in the air. Just as I was beginning to think my body was not ever meant to be in this position, the instructor comes and nudges my right arm further back. So now I am definitely not sure I like him. Bring back the old instructor now! As if he could sense my thoughts, he said the posture was about letting go. He was not wrong, no one with the bum in the air with the cheek squashed on the floor with splayed limbs is hanging onto to anything, never mind dignity. Anyway, I finished my class in one piece and ticked it off my list for the weekend.

Item two, long meditation. I meditate almost every day for at least thirty minutes. I was supposed to be going on a meditation retreat last weekend but there was a mix-up and I couldn’t go. I decided this weekend, I was going to meditate for longer than my normal time. I got up Sunday morning and of course I wanted to do everything else but. I had this sudden urge to take the dogs for that long walk. Anyway, I overcame all my excuses and did my long meditation and that was how I ended up having a very late breakfast, actually brunch as it couldn’t qualify for breakfast anymore at midday; but because I hadn’t had breakfast I couldn’t call it lunch either.

Item three, long walk with the dogs. This was now beginning to feel tricky. I had made myself a lovely fire in the living room, I had just had brunch, I deserved a sit down. I had to write my blog, surely the dogs will understand. It was nice and warm inside and cold outside. The dogs started following me from room to room, as they do when they want to up the pressure on you to take them for a walk. I put them outside to run around in the garden, but they were having none of that. They just sat outside and stared at me through the French doors. I couldn’t take the pressure anymore, I caved in, got my wellies and coat on and we headed off into the woods.

There is something magical about walking in nature. I feel this connection with the trees, the wild life the clean air, the smells, everything. No matter how I am feeling, the moment I step into the woods with the dogs, it is as if I have come home. The dogs of course just run off and do their own thing and come back every now and then to make sure I am still there. I keep half an eye on them, and they do the same to me. They leave me alone and I leave them alone, until I come out of my reverie and need to reassure myself they are still somewhere and I call out to them and they come scurrying out of the woods on to the path and we continue like that for the whole walk. That is our normal routine.

When we headed out, I was only going out for short walk just so I could tick the last item off my list but now I was in the woods, my legs just kept on going. Then there are the other people walking their dogs that you meet. People walking their dogs tend to be very sociable. There is always something to talk about. First you compliment them on their dog. You ask them how old their dog is, then the history; you could be there forever. I have had all sorts of stories on my walks. I could write a book!

The first guy we met today was this old boy who had a rescue dog who was a bit excitable to say the least. We had a nice chat and then I had to march on as he was going at a slower pace. Then we bumped into this other guy who was upset with his dog because it had gone and eaten horse poo. Dogs do that for some bizarre reason and then come home and get sick. Then we bumped into the lady riding a horse.
My dogs are good with other dogs provided the other dogs are not aggressive; however, they are model dogs when they see a horse. I am no dog whisperer, but I managed to train them when they were little to come and sit wherever we’re near a horse. There are lots of bridle paths in the woods that we walk in, so you would normally come across a few horse riders on a typical walk. The dogs were true to form when we saw the lady on the horse. They came back when I called them and sat and waited patiently until the horse had passed and then we continued our walk.

Then we got to the river and of course they had to jump in a have a swim. They will jump in at freezing temperatures without batting an eyelid. I have often wondered whether they feel the cold. After the river, we were then into the field where the sheep were grazing, so I had to put them on the lead. They don’t mind being on the lead too much but these are country dogs that live in the woods.
In the field, we come across a young couple with the bull dog. We say our pleasant ‘hellos, they compliment me on my dogs and I do the same and we go our separate ways. I wonder how long it will be before their lives are turned upside down by kids. Then again if they can handle a dog, they know all about disruption.

We are now homeward bound. The last person we see is another elderly gentleman who is walking on his own. My dogs run towards him and he stops and pats them both. He is clearly the doggy type. We stop for a chat. His dog was put down two weeks ago, so he now goes on his walks on his own. He is clearly still grieving. He misses his dog terribly because he had him from a puppy and had him for 10 years. He tells me how brave his dog was. Even in the last weeks of its life when it was hard for the dog to go for walks, he still wanted to accompany him. How he misses his loyalty, he tells me, a complete stranger, with tears in his eyes. Isn’t it odd how you can open up to someone on a cold winter’s day on a walk with dogs? Anyway, he says nice things about my dogs, unfortunately I can’t return the compliment which makes the moment even more sad for me.

What a lovely thing to do on a Sunday afternoon, to go for walk a with the dogs and connect to all these strangers.

I have now ticked all the 3 things on my list, so I can pat myself on the back and look forward to the coming week.

Have a good week everyone.