Hiking Companion

As Willie sleeps on my lap, I realize I am just as tired as he is. The past two weeks have involved a trip to Nashville, a one week class and a presentation. This morning we did our regular Wednesday morning hike, but we were both out of practice since our weekly schedule has been off. I could tell he was excited to be on his trail again, but we were both dragging. 

I realized that I had unintentionally developed a routine with him because I wanted to make sure that he was getting enough outdoor time. I adjusted my work schedule to allow for hikes and afternoon trips to the dog park. I stopped running by myself and started taking him with me or hiking and walking again. Today, as we were hiking, I realized….Willie’s changed my life. 

I know that sounds dramatic, but it is certainly true. The time that I would spend alone is now spent with him. I take him to work and to run my errands a lot of times. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I can get so caught up in what we have to do and checking items off our to-do list that I forget that I am living and breathing in world surrounded by other living beings. I am interacting with people and living things all the time, but before I had Willie I rarely thought twice about what their lives were like. 

Now, because I am listening and watching out for him and making sure that he has water and food and time to hike and run and be outside, I am not just concerned with what I have to do. I am concerned with taking care of him, too. 

He’s become my hiking companion, but he has also become my life companion. He knows when I am upset or nervous or tired and he adjusts whatever mood he’s in to be with me. I hope he can say the same about me.