Dog and Other Walks

My daughter brought Rufus home for Thanksgiving and when she flies back to California later today, he will remain with me. Molly will return for Christmas and will bring him back to his west coast life in January. Meanwhile I have the pleasure and responsibility of taking care of this sweet dog.

Rufus smiling

While I haven’t missed his 6 AM demand that I take him out, I don’t hate being forced to see the sunrise. While he angles his leg towards the hedge to pee, I yawn and look up at the sky. This morning the sky was glorious – a deep navy blue in the west as night moved out and a glowing yellow of a new day in the east.

Getting outside also gets me out of my head when I am more inclined to retreat to full hibernation mode. Especially in winter, I get lazy and I don’t love the cold and there have already been days when I barely step out of the house. That’s not good. Even a short walk around the neighborhood gives me a spark of energy along with a fix of fresh oxygen. Having Rufus around with his multiple required outings each day, reminds me that I need to fan these sparks into flames.

Rather than letting the days simply pass, I want to savor each as precious. Even the physical movement of opening the door changes the energy, creates an atmospheric shift reminding me that I am part of something bigger than myself. Walking through the neighborhood, exchanging a few words with a neighbor or venturing down to the river to note the tide and maybe glimpse the great blue heron who seems to be wintering nearby, all give me a sense of well-being.

Stepping outdoors with no other intent than to follow this pup around in his wander, no matter how self absorbed I was minutes earlier, the wind against my cheek, light in my eyes, crunch of leaves under my feet, keeps me present.

Rufus surveying the estate

It’s not that I don’t go for walks when Rufus isn’t here. I’m pretty disciplined about getting up and out and there are advantages to doing this solo. While I like the purpose a dog brings, walks alone are easier. Without him, I walk at my own pace instead of being pulled along, stopping abruptly so he can sniff every few feet. Alone, I can drive the 10 minutes to the beach and walk where dogs aren’t allowed but the views are spectacular. I do like the freedom of not having a pet – but I miss the rituals, the weight of him on my lap, his sweet devotion.

No, I do not want to adopt another dog right now. But I do love having him visit and I do love him. But right now I am learning who this new me is that need only take care of myself and it’s very interesting and a little luxurious. Today it is rainy and Rufus, not a fan of getting wet, won’t want to venture further than the yard to do the necessary. I may just have to leave him at home and go for a walk by myself. (Or not!)

Pets or no pets?

10 thoughts on “Dog and Other Walks”

  1. So we’ll penned as always Tricia!
    Rufus is quite adorable and I’m so glad Molly will be back soon!

  2. This fellow can be a little lazy himself – refusing to move forward if he’s had enough. Then I get weight bearing exercise in too – because I end up carrying him!

  3. GREAT read! And great question! As a forever cat lover and never dog owner (too much responsibility and wasn’t home as much as I am now), it’s been my pleasure to walk my neighbors Huskies as often as I can get my hands on them. And it’s as perfect for me as being an aunt has always been! I can have nieces (now grand nieces and nephews) over, spoil them rotten, and hand them back! Same with “my” Huskies…..they are happy to see me always…..and the walks do me as much good as them. Best of both worlds. Enjoy your sweet time with Rufus……xo

  4. A wonderful reflection Tricia! Your all-senses description of your wanderings with and without Rufus is so evocative. What lovely surroundings you have within an easy walk! How nice to have this cozy company on chilly days….and the joy of anticipating Molly’s return! XO

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