You see the world differently when you have a dog. Or maybe you just see the world more. If I didn’t have Teddy in tow, I wouldn’t walk half as much as I do. I recently read somewhere that if you really, really care about your dog, you should take them on different dog walks daily, shake it up a bit, keep it fresh.
I have two thoughts about this. First of all, even the most routine walk is new when you keep your eyes open. When I’m walking Ted – which tends to be a stop start/affair as he sniffs/piddles as much as he can get away with – I notice gardens, I notice people, I notice other dogs (not always for the most heart-warming reasons – Teddy can be growly on a lead), and sometimes I even find myself stopping to smell the roses. The thing is, if I’m absorbing so much on the same daily walk, how much more must Teddy be getting with his superior sensory synapses pinging away?
But then of course, having read that article, comes my second thought: if his walks get more interesting then this sweet little urban dog might feel even chirpier, and I don’t want him to miss out.
So now variety is the thing. If guilt hadn’t led me to it, I might never have walked along the canal to Kings Cross – currently mid-re-vamp – with its natural swimming pond/art installation that sits like a very cool, natural jewel amid the cranes and coffee shops. I could easily have picked up an Edwyn UK neckerchief for Teddy in our lovely local dog emporium, Hair of the Dog, but then we would have missed out on a Saturday wander about Spitalfields Market to buy an neckerchief from the designer herself. With an hour to kill, I wouldn’t have led Ted on a walking tour of Portobello Road where we discovered the dog-friendly Pedlars store with its easy little coffee shop at the rear. And we wouldn’t have ended up at the local’ish reservoir for a Ted-driven sniffathon while my children learnt to sail. The point is that without Ted I might not have not ventured forth. I’m still not convinced that Teddy really cares whether his walk consists of the same run across Hampstead Heath or the same turn about the streets of Hampstead (in fact I’m sure he relishes making his mark on his home turf), but it turns out this guilt trip might have been beneficial for both us. Another thing to thank dog for.