Dogs process the world with their noses.
You’ve seen them.
Noses high, they smell the air around them, then down to sniff the bushes,
the grass, the flowers and each other.
Riley and Capt. Hebert the Wonder Dog go for smell walks every day. These outings different from those we take to practice walking on a leash.
Or for exercise.
No, these are strolls with no particular objective except
to allow the dogs to fully explore the world.
It’s their time and they love it, delighting in every scent they come across.
Our route’s about a mile long, just right for a small dog and an older one. It’s a special treat, a time when they’re fully in the moment and fully in their environment.
And they never know what’s around the next corner.Our neighborhood is full of good smells. I love to watch “the boys” root around in the grass, stick their noses into bushes, stop at street lamps where other dogs have left pee-mail messages.
But how often do we take our own version of smell walks?
Stroll for the enjoyment of it?
Italians have the passegiata, a slow evening stroll.
Not us. We’ve always got an objective.
We’re out running, speedwalking, exercising.
We’re breaking a sweat, ambulating for our health,
on an agenda.
And that’s good, and healthy, and necessary. BUT…
We rarely go out to stroll. To take in the flowers, the sunshine, the blue sky.
To greet our neighbors. To amble for the pure pleasure of it.
Or, as the British say, take a ramble. Leisurely. Aimlessly.
M. and I have begun to double up on our morning walks. First, we take the dogs out for their smell walk. And it’s become our own smell walk, as well. A time for us to enjoy the beautiful flowers and plants, the clear blue spring sky and the warm sun, not yet too hot. And of course, we enjoy watching our dogs explore.
Then, we bring the dogs home and do a second walk, for exercise.