My husband Mark and I returned from vacation 2 days ago. We had our dog, Zoey, at the local Pet Motel, and we picked her up yesterday. It was the longest time we were without her (10 days), and we missed her so much.
Dogs are great. It used to be a feline person by default. As an adult I lived mainly in apartments or houses with very few patios. It would have been a disservice to have a dog under those circumstances. Since exercise is the most important thing dogs need, a place to run is imperative for their spirit. If you’ve ever watched (and paid attention to) Cesar Millán’s show, The Dog Whisperer, you know what a dog needs. In order of importance they are: exercise, discipline and affection.
I was a bit surprised the first time I learned this: exercise and discipline over affection, I mean, come on! Well, dogs are different from humans after all. The walking they need provides much-needed mental stimulation for these animals.
This makes sense when I see Zoey go crazy when she utters the word “walk”, or when her internal clock rings, and it’s just time. What makes dogs need it so much? According to Cesar, it is in his DNA. When dogs walk is how they connect. They are also intellectually stimulated by the cool environment.
This is not that different from us humans. I know I feel heavier and out of touch when I’m not spending time outside, especially when there’s a bit of walking to do. The difference is that sometimes I have to be pushed and pushed to get me to go for a walk. Zoey (and all the other dogs I know) make it clear, in their own unique way, that they really want to go for a walk.
I think we have a lot to learn from dogs. Deprived of ego, they provide much love to those who care for them. Whether we get old or fat, they love us anyway. Their needs are simple and consistent, and they have no idea of the latest trends. Every now and then I catch Zoey in a state of shame. He’s a bit clumsy and trips over things sometimes. That’s when I get the “I hope you didn’t see that” look.
But who knows, maybe I’m getting the expression wrong … anyway, such a lack of grace makes me want her even more. It reminds me that it is our imperfections that make us especially lovable, whether we are human or canine.
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