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Column

Walking with a dog

I have spent many hours walking around Newton. I have written previously about how I used my nightly walks to familiarize myself with Newton when I first moved here. áI also lived close enough to the Newton Daily News office I would walk to work on most days.

One of my favorite things to do was walk the different hike/bike trails Newton has. It provides wonderful scenery as I walked off some stress of the day.

My husband, Tim, has joined me on these walks, though they aren’t as frequent as they once were. When you have a house to attend to as opposed to a small apartment, more time has to be spent keeping up with the day-to-day home efforts. Now, I do most of my walking in the morning hours on my treadmill. It was one of our first purchases after we bought the house, and I have been racking up miles on it for nearly a year.

Walking on a treadmill does lack the beauty of the outdoors. So over the past few weeks as the weather has turned more spring-like, Tim and I have made use of the bike trail s right by our house and have enjoyed time outdoors again. One added element to this activity is bringing our dachshund, Letty, along for some exercise.

Being a small dog, she doesn’t need much for exercise. She does like to spend time outdoors, mostly in our yard rolling in grass and leaves. When we do take her on walks, she seems incredibly happy to be outside with her people. She prances in front of us with her little tail straight up in the air and little legs moving 100 mph to keep ahead of us.

Walking with a dog is so different from my solo walks. When I was by myself, earbuds in place, I moved at my own speed, constantly pushing myself to go faster and walk farther. Even when Tim joined me, we kept a constant pace and moved in sync as we enjoyed the sunshine.

With a dog, you can no longer just trudge ahead and keep pushing the pace. You have to allow for what I call “sniff stops.” I can’t complain too much about Letty. She doesn’t try to sniff every tree, plant, pole or leaf we come across. She understands we are out for a walk, so she does pretty good at keeping the pace with only a few stops for new and exciting smells.

More often than not, our stops are to untangle our short-legged dog after getting the leash stuck underneath her or wrapped around one of her paws. She can figure out how to untangle herself every fourth try, but we try to keep her comfortable.

She is not a huge fan of meeting strange people on the path. During our walk Monday, a runner approached from the opposite direction, and she ran for the trees to get away from her. The runner just smiled and kept going.

Another big difference you get from walking with a dog is the attention. One or two people walking together might get a “hi” from a passersby. When you walk with a dog, especially a small dog like Letty, she tends to attract attention.

The ever popular “how cute!” reaction to Letty still brings a smile to my face whenever someone says it. I happen to agree we have one of the cutest dogs in the world; so when others point it out, it makes me happy. Another popular response is to ask for her name and follow that up with “is she full grown?” She is a full adult dog, but she will always look like a puppy in her delicate, six-pound frame. Letty’s reaction to the attention is to hide behind Tim or I.

I am so ready for the sunshine months ahead. Hopefully, we will be able to enjoy our Newton surroundings and attract more attention with our little Letty.

Contact Pam Pratt at pampratt@newtondailynews.com

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