What Do You “Do” While You’re Walking the Dog?

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Well, just when things were calming down, we adopted a dog. My friend, Stephanie, who’s very involved with rescuing dogs, found A.J. for us — he’s a 2-year-old Maltipoo whose days were numbered. We couldn’t resist!

But this is a whole new world to me — having always had allergies, I’ve never been able to get cozy with pets. Mostly, we made the decision because we’ve heard about the great effects that dogs can have on kids. And we’ve seen many of these already — love, leadership, caring. They’ve shown unfettered affection to A.J. (something they rarely do to each other!) and seem to know we’ve helped give him a break. And they all have someone they can take care of — making sure his bowl is full and his hair is combed (if only they’d spend as much time on their own hair!) Our two sons (the "middle" and the "baby" of the family) are training him and teaching him tricks. As my husband said, our youngest son is no longer the baby in the family, and our middle child is no longer in the middle. Everyone has moved into a new role.

Three days in, I’m realizing how little I know. Like I had no idea that once you have a pet, your friends’ pets text your pet, welcoming him to the family (thanks, Otis!). And you get emails of pictures of their pets in their cutest poses, as if to suggest that their pet is as cute as A.J. (OK, maybe he is, Betty!). It’s a whole new world.

Part of what appealed to me about getting a dog were the walks — I kind of look forward to just meandering for 20 minutes two or three times a day. No agenda, no rushing, just being with the dog, looking at people’s gardens, meeting new neighbors. But as a Type A "Let’s-make-the-most-of-every-minute" kind of gal, I wonder how long that "let’s just meander" feeling will last.

So I need advice — if you have a pet, what do you do while you’re taking walks?

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