October 18, 2023

Lessons I Learned From Walking My Dog

By Ruth Nathaniel
Mental Health & Wellbeing

When I first got my puppy, it was clear she needed an outlet for her boundless energy. I didn’t have a large green space to let her wander off-leash, so long daily walks were the next best thing. Here’s what I learned from those walks.

Connection With Others Requires Slowing Down

Apart from the obvious physical benefits of walking and getting fresh air, I found myself being stopped by neighbors (especially kids) who wanted to pet her and inadvertently strike up a conversation. I didn’t have many opportunities to slow down and give my neighbors a wave or even chat until my dog provided me with several. The connections I’ve made with my neighbors opened me up to know who I share this community with and increased my sense of belonging and safety. In turn, I think my neighbors also got to know me and have a sense of who I am. Now, it is not uncommon for the neighborhood kids to knock on my door and ask to play with my dog these days, which speaks to the trust their parents have in me and vice versa.

Walks Wait For No One…Go for it!

My dog will let me know when it is time for her walk, and she is serious about it! Often forcing me out of bed at sunrise, she motivates me to get outside and move in intentional and gentle ways. Walking in the cool morning air has done incredible things for my mental health, and being accompanied by my canine friend only sweetens the deal because I know she needs it just as much as I do.

We are Enough

There’s a point in the walk when my dog will look up at me and give me a goofy wide grin with her tongue hanging out. Her sweet look melts my heart, reminding me of how loved I am by her. She asks for so little, and my care for her is enough. I could be having a rough start to the day or be on top of my game, and she will never fail to gaze at me with total acceptance. I am enough, and so are you.

Each Day Is A Gift

The weather is not always ideal, and there have been some days where our walks simply do not happen. It’s the days we do not get to go outside that have highlighted just how special our daily walks really are. To breathe the fresh air, move my body, say hello to my neighbors, and spend quality time with my dog is a precious gift. It requires nothing more than time and a bit of energy to get out there.

I hope this reflection provides inspiration and affirmation for the simple things in your life. May we reflect on these practices and moments with gratitude! If you’re interested in living a more mindful life, I’d love to meet you and hear your story. Give us a call about setting up an appointment today!

Written By

Ruth Nathaniel

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