Sometimes, if the weather and circumstances are just right I will let the four-footed one pick our entire walking route. If the weather is dirty I will direct her on a shorter course, the same if I am in a hurry. But if there isn’t anything pressing to do and the weather isn’t too bad, we have an adventure of her choosing.
We may start heading south through the neighborhood and then cut sharply to the east to take in the open spaces or she may decide to slowly follow her nose towards the west (a favorite bakery is ten blocks to the south-west of us). Still other times she will insist we head to the north first.
We never stay travelling in just a north or south direction. We roam across the terrain like a kite buffeted by winds heading here and then suddenly there. This normally happens when she has decided that her nose should lead the way. Her nose does not like to travel in straight paths; we range in a zig-zag pattern. Other times she will have caught sight of marking flags and we must follow their heading until we get distracted by something like a bird, or a leaf.
When she gets to pick the route, she forgets that one tiny, yet very important piece of information. You know the fact that you have to walk all that way back home too. She’s all too happy to head out on the adventure, but she will struggle to walk all those steps back to her comfortable bed. She will bounce up on hind legs demanded I carry her (she has an issue with her hips) or simply drop to the ground in protest to having to move even one more step. No matter how many times I remind her we have to walk all that way back, she ignores me. The pursuit of the adventure is too great and who wants to be bothered with something as silly as logic?
Today was one of those days where the weather was just right and there wasn’t anything pressing to do so we headed out for a ramble with her making the decisions. Yes I know, the owner should always be in command, and to an extent I am if I choose to enforce that. But she was happy, ears flopping as she bounced along and I had no particular place to visit so she led.
We ended up in an area she had never been to before, a place full of new sights, sounds and smells for her to investigate. We leisurely walked into an opening, then ran to a bush full of birds before slowly making our way back to the opening again. We pounced on an unsuspecting plant which happened to move in the gentle breeze and then found the most wondrous tall grass to hide in before we slowly made our way back home.
Both of us returned home happy. She found her bed and her stuffed dinosaur to flop down with. And I wondered back to when I was very young and would head out on adventures with my parents. I’m pretty sure I got to pick at least part of the journeys we went on if not the entire path. I’m also pretty certain that like my four-footed one, I would forget all about having to walk that whole way back home which would result in needing to be carried at times. I’m also pretty certain I would come home happy, probably tired and ready to just flop down while my parents would be able to marvel in the comforting silence which would settle over the house. That is until I was ready for the next adventure.