I say heel, he says heal

I think I’m one of these really lazy people. The thought of exercise simply tires me out especially now the clocks have turned and it is getting dark so early.

Then I look into my dog’s eyes, and see them pleading with me to take  him out. It isn’t fair to keep him locked up all day.

So I put on my coat and walking boots, get his lead and ball. By this time he’s bouncing off the walls in excitement in anticipation of the walk ahead.

He sits good while I clip the lead to his collar, walks good (ish) considering he’s so excited. He sits by each curb until I say it’s ok to cross the road and on the final stretch, I let him off the lead.

He shoots like a bullet from a gun and I have long given up trying to keep up with him. I don’t worry because I know he is in his collie stance waiting for the ball. When he sees me approaching, he turns, he lies down, he runs back and forth, he’s so excited.

We have ball time on the top field, me throwing the ball, him running like thunder to get it then bringing it back. Again and again we do this. We see people, we say ‘hi’ and have a quick chat about the weather or how lovely the doges are. And we walk on.

When I get to the pond, I say ‘finish’ and he knows ball time, ‘work’ time is over and his whole body stance changes. His ears prick up, he wags his tail, wades through the water, jumps through the grass. There is no sight more joyful than seeing a happy dog, with that massive smile, wagging tail and the whole of life’s energy in one place.

We walk some more, I get out of breath and I tell myself to do it more often and get fit. My cheeks feel hot, I feel my blood pumping around me. I feel the wind around me, see the seasons change, feel the energy from the earth, the trees and hear the bird song.

At the end of our walk, when we near the car park, I say ‘heel’ and Alfie walks with me. He walks with me all the way home, sitting at every curb until it’s safe to cross and sits while I unlock the door.

Once inside he waits patiently until I take of my coat and boots and then I take of his lead, give him a big hug (well, depending on how mucky he is!) and praise him for being such a good boy and walking so good.

Really I’m saying thank you for showing me what there is to live for and what a beautiful world we have.

Saying thank you for showing me a way to heal.

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