Every dog must have his day. Jonathan Swift
For more than fifteen years, I have walked dogs in my neighborhood and at times the three-mile circuit that is the boundary between the unincorporated county land where I live and the two adjacent towns in East County. I know and have met dogs and dog owners who we regularly cross paths on our walks, but there are a number who never walk their dogs. Several that Dexter wants to stop and greet behind backyard fences, gates, and screen doors are always somewhat neurotic or aggressive.
Several of my neighbors and co-workers who have dogs, are enjoying the health benefits of walking their canine pals. Andrew Weil is one of many experts who say, if you want to get regular exercise, get a dog. Healthy dogs, people and neighborhoods seem to be naturally linked.
For the last couple weeks, my wife has dog-walking duty while I healed. Up the street from my home, a fenced “open spaces” area has been where Dexter and Comet work off energy. What, a decade ago, had been an undeveloped grassy ridge where my boys had once hiked, hunted rattlesnakes, and spotted the occasional hawk or coyote, was graded, irrigated, and re-made into a “natural habitat” for native plants and animals. (But the gophers all fled to my neighborhood. I wish they would read the signs and go back.)
Walking is man’s best medicine. Hippocrates
This is a great area for the dogs to sniff out whatever it is that dogs sniff. Dogs are said to have a sense of smell 40 times greater than human beings. With my fading eyesight, I might wish for a better sniffer. I may not be able to sniff out all the great things that a dog reads in the bushes, coyote scat, and the occasional dead varmint, but it is obvious from the satisfied collapse into each dog’s cushions after the evening walk, that they have caught up on all the neighborhood news.