Everyone in my neighborhood has at one time or another seen me out walking. For the most recent sixteen years, I have had canine companions that I have urgently, grudgingly, or dutifully taken on a “potty walk”. Over the years I had hoped that my teenager kids would take them out as they came and went. Since I was packaging the experience as a chore, I frequently demanded, then expected the chores, and finally – as the young men were starting their own working lives, to take it back. I needed the walk as much as dogs required time outdoors. It’s our routine.
The idea of something is often more romantic than the hard fact. Especially to the young, but not reservedly so. After a career in the Navy, the idea of long voyages to foreign lands was far more romantic than the hard facts of going to sea and work expected to get to those far-away ports; in my later years, working in the technology industry and ‘making a contribution” became more about one’s diligence in exchange for a paycheck. Vacation days are more about a rest from work than taking an adventure. And the practicals of taking in a pet are often more of a commitment than many have interest in – particularly after raising a family. A family pet needs exercise, training, and a task or tasks, just as the human being needs those things.
For this human after the teen years, forty or so years of a working life is often less adventure and more of a routine. Taking my experience in San Diego, for example. 480 hours, commuting, 2100 hours at work, 1400 hours sleeping and 350 hours a year walking the dogs. If not for my faith, family, and my canine companions, I would find it perfectly reasonable to just quit one day. But that is not reasonable for an adult to ACT on such thoughts.
It’s why I walk Dexter and Comet twice a day. Stop and sniff the bushes as we go. It’s therapy.