My dog, Edison has been my best friend during this pandemic. When I was at my strictest with quarantine, he was my co-worker, dance partner, and sounding board. But even before the pandemic, he's been a great teacher of mine, as our animals tend to be. Some of his best lessons have been on our hikes together. So I give you 5 lessons my dog has taught me on hikes.
1. Sometimes, you have to stick your face in it.
Edison loves waterfalls. When he sees one, he makes it his mission to grab as much as possible and drink it. He'll circle them like he's circling prey. One time, he dove right in face first. He wanted it and went for it. If you want something, go all in face first.
2. Trust your footing.
That dog will fly down the steepest rocks while I gingerly step to make sure I don't fall. I have to operate that way because, if there is any hole or crevice anywhere, I will be the one stepping in it. He rarely slips, and he's never fallen. Be sure your feet will take you where you need to go, and you won't fall.
3. Share your joy.
Edison introduces himself to everyone. He will walk right in front of someone or lie down in front of them to get attention. My dog will jump on people, hug them, and give them kisses. Once you have pet him sufficiently, he moves on. They almost always have a smile on their faces when he does. He always wants affection. What better way to get it than to give it?
4. Have a smile for everyone you meet.
Sometimes, he's too busy to stop and greet everyone. He's in his flow or intently sniffing something. If he's looking in a person's direction, he usually has a smile. He's got more than one. He's got one that takes up his whole face and lights it up. When it lands on you, it makes your day. He will give that smile to many a passerby we meet on the hiking trail. Even when you don't know someone or will never see them again, why not throw them a little positivity?
5. Take a break when you have to.
When I decide something needs to get done, it gets done. I have a laser-like focus when that happens. I don't eat, and I don't take a break. Edison is now at a point as a seasoned hiker where he sees the value in breaks. He still wants to see everything, but when he's tired, he stops. Once, we got lost and had already gone five miles, and I kept pushing because I wanted to figure out how to get back to the car. It's kind of important. He said, "Nope, Mommy," and lay down. Other hikers saw this, knew he was done, and gave us a ride back to the car. He showed me if you take a step back, the answer comes pretty fast.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer