Each morning when I wake up I throw my walking clothes on and after all the dogs have been fed I begin my morning ritual of walking. There is an underlying structure to how I do things. Depending on who is living with us and who is boarding with us at the time I create a symphony of walks. I take into consideration who needs what and who can walk peacefully together.

This time grounds us all for the day. Being outside experiencing nature, breathing the smells, sights and sounds of the world waking up is magical. The dogs are quick to discover what new smells have arrived since there last walk the day before. They notice their surroundings quite effectively.
I have learned to pay attention and observe what is around me by being present with them.
So many times, in a day I feel rushed, like I have so many things to do and so many places to be. The dogs are a shining example of slowing down and literally stopping to smell whatever delight comes before you.

Walking is when I bond most strongly with them. It is the way we build our relationship. I am quiet and patient and reward them for checking in with me. I am building a trusting experience and always have their back.

When a dog first comes to The Pet Cottage they are often scared, anxious, and just plain wary. It is my intention to learn who they are and what they need. It takes time and a lot of walking. I learn what frightens them, what manners they may need, and slowly we begin to understand each other. I am always fascinated by the way the relationship grows and changes all the time. As they gain confidence I see a different side of them and it is delicious when they are relaxed and trust me whole heartily.
Like any relationship it takes showing up, being present, and time spent. Walking with your dog is some of the best time you will ever spend. The relationship you build with them is a relationship you will always be able to count on. Dogs are loyal and honest and adore being your companion. A mindful walk with your dog can be a moving meditation where both you and your canine breathe deeper and appreciate more this amazing earth we share.

By Wendy Derhak