Sometimes all it takes is a suggestion, an idea planted in your head. Maybe you see a Facebook post about parking your car at the farther from the store door and think, “Yeah, I can do that.” So you start to get a few more steps in every day, immediately feeling better about yourself and, soon, feeling better physically as well.
Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge. Your friend invites you to go for a leisurely bike ride around the neighborhood. You dust off your Schwinn and feel like a kid again, your hair flowing behind your beaming face as you wonder why you ever stopped riding in the first place.
And sometimes it takes a literal nudge. Of the nose. Or noses.
My two dogs associate the sound of my quick-laced shoes being cinched directly with going for a “w.” (Please, please, please do not say the “w” word in their presence unless you’re already headed toward the leash closet.) It doesn’t matter the time of day, or my routine up until that point, or where I cinch the shoes. The equation is simple: cinch=w. I often find myself hiding in the closet or bathroom to cinch my shoes, or doing it so slowly I don’t make a sound.
But not today. This morning, for whatever reason, as I sat working at my computer, I absentmindedly cinched my shoes. The dogs immediately appear in the office, tails flapping, tongues panting, bodies bouncing around like a cross between a rabbit and a bucking bronco.
“No, no, no,” I said in an attempt to squelch their expectation. It’s a remedy that usually works. After a moment or three, they accept the false alarm and return to being the loads they are, sprawled out on the couch, under the bed, or beside me in the office.
But not today. For 30 minutes they pestered me with their noses, their paws, their longing eyes, until I finally said the “OK” word. (Another forbidden phrase unless you’re serious about the “w.”)
It didn’t need to be an hour walk, like I sometimes tell myself. They just wanted to go outside and explore for a bit. Twenty minutes later, we were back home, and all was right with the world. They were panting happily, and I was clear-headed.
Do yourself a favor today: let your dog take you for a walk.