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One of Mabel’s favorite activities is sitting at my kitchen door, nose smashed against the glass, and lazily watching people walk by. I love that she’s derpy and unphased, even if she sees a dog. And you can bet that I reward my sweet girl for every calm “look” while I do dishes, fill her enrichment toys, or cook for myself.

There was a time when I’d mentally grumble about the constant window cleaning and nose smudges on every glass surface Mabel peers out. But, I’ve come to a place where the extra car vacuuming, floor mopping, and window wiping remind me that a being I love was enjoying herself, feels safe enough to be curious, and most likely thrashed around in the mud to cool herself off, Mabel gets hot on a 68-degree day.

Mabel needs to move, move, move, but the trigger stacking in my neighborhood encouraged me to find quiet, wooded walks for her. On Sundays, we walked along treelines near my mom’s house before our weekly visit with Mabel’s nanny (grandma). A new nearby apartment complex recently started accepting tenants, and our delightful Sunday strolls were being interrupted by amped-up dogs, too close for Mabel’s current comfort.

So, last week, we ventured to a park Mabel visited with Sasha (her amazing pet sitter). Walking on the quiet path underneath a colossal tree canopy that protected my hot dog from the sun’s rays on a crisp morning, I remembered how soothing and nurturing walking in nature is. When Mabel and I got back into the car, I checked her for ticks, tapped my boots on the curb to remove as much dirt as possible, and didn’t even think about the inevitable car wash and vacuum.

That’s what a good walk does: it gets us out of our heads and lets us forget our to-dos. We can even heal old heart wounds and magically solve problems we’ve been mulling for months after a delightful nature stroll.

Next week, I’ll be in Asheville, NC, for the IAABC conference, so there will be no blog post. I want to get in as much hiking as possible between exhibit hours and networking while Mabel enjoys her stay with Sasha and her lovely family. My fantastic team will still be in the kitchen and packing orders, so I hope you get out with your dog(s) somewhere that fills your soul with peace, your heart with joy, and maybe your car with mud. 

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