Don’t Get Down, Get Done

Walk DogThere are days I don’t feel like I have time to walk the dog. Today, definitely, was one of those days. So, besides talking myself into the walk (dog will be happy, dog won’t be so worrisome and stop eyeing the garbage, I did eat one donuts too many this morning, etc.), sometimes I take something to do on the walk.

I don’t advise this for every walk. I used to (try to) multi-task like a fiend, but I have recognized that many times, you need to do just one thing and be in the moment.

Besides, dogs like it when you talk to them, even on walks. And some dogs need more supervision during a walk. My dog, Bronx, has been leash-trained for a year, but there are days here and there when an errant cat who passes too close gets the better of his attention. (Maybe that is some deficit in my training, but here we are.)

Rather than Skip the Walk, Multitask

However, if I feel frustrated by the fact I need to take time out for a 40-minute walk, I try to see if I can get something else done. Today, I stuck the hands-free piece in my ear, connected it to my cell phone, and I made the weekly call to Mom as we (me, Bronx, and Mom) walked. Walking while talking to Mom has a few benefits for me:

  1. The obvious: Bronx gets his walk.
  2. The next obvious: I’m getting a bit of a workout.
  3. Mom can hear me huffing while I talk. This is because I pick up the pace when talking to Mom to make it clear that I am watching my weight ‘because it doesn’t get any easier as you get older’.
  4. I can take out my frustration physically by walking even faster when I am being directed on how to be a better mother, sister, gardener, cookie-maker, etc.
  5. I can get off the phone in a moments notice with “the dog is (insert activity here)”, so I am taking care of an urgent activity but I am a responsible person for walking my dog.

(I love my mother – really – but some days, aarrggh!)

Things to Do on a Walk

These are some of the other things I have gotten done on some of our walks:

  • Taken care of a phone call.
  • Caught up on podcasts I downloaded to my phone.
  • (Reluctantly) previewed music my daughter wants to play at her party (so reluctantly!).
  • Dropped off a package at the post office.
  • Picked up rolls at the bakery.
  • Dropped off a package at a friend’s house.
  • Gotten to know my neighborhood.
  • Dictated thoughts on my phone.

We live in a busy world and have busy lives. Being able to get something else done while you walk the dog may free up some time for you later…you may get one more thing check off your list. But remember your priorities. We could just really value the walk as our special bonding time with our dogs and sacred exercise ritual for our dogs, and not a chore. And both we and our dogs are better for it.