I am beginning to think that a good slogan for a shelter should be "Adopt a Dog, You Will Lose Five Pounds."
It did work that way for me. I lost five pounds after I adopted Lettie and had to get up an extra half hour earlier each day and do a walk around town following her every day. Three times a day.
That adds up to a lot of walking.
I would wander around town looking at things, and seeing sights that I would never have expected to see. Many beautiful sunrises and sunsets, meteor showers, rainbows, snowfalls, gardens in bloom, and of course the neighbors.
Oh it was certainly difficult to get off my tail and go for a walk some of those days. Winter Mornings in Pennsylvania could be justifiably called frigid. After a snowfall, Lettie was smart enough to walk behind me in between the berms of snow and in my lee.
I will allow a dog to follow me to shelter in my shadow, a human will be on their own.
We moved down here a couple years later and I kept the routine up. In PA, I got up early, managed to leverage that time well by either going to the gym at work or on weekends I'd get to the park early to beat the events that would be held there so I could get in my own cardio fix. Here, it makes sense to be up before dawn and get your walks in because in August in South Florida, it can get ugly after sunrise very quickly.
Temperatures will rise to near body temperature, with that humidity that is like being in someone else's bathroom during their shower, and the sun is Due Up. Days like that you question why they call it the Sunshine State when it just might as well be called the Furnace State.
When we lost Lettie, we quickly got Rack. I needed another dog. My routine suffered, and frankly a dog is a great way to keep your mood up. If you have not been awakened by a wet nose on your elbow, then you are missing on one of life's great joys.
But with great joy comes great responsibility.
I not only moved myself and my family 1200 miles to Florida, I moved my walks and my schedule. The scenery has changed. The Palms, The Flowers, and the Pool.
I still was up as much as 3 hours before dawn, but that did not mean that I could just plop myself in the chair and do what I liked. I had Rack the McNab SuperDog(TM) to do things for.
I could just open up the back door and let him wander around to do his business before we would get him walked. He would charge around and get behind the tropical plantings we have here on the property and then come back. Except he is a very nervous dog. Many days he'd just come back to the back door almost as quickly as you could walk across the room.
I started paying attention to this and changed my own schedule to allow myself the time to go out back and listen. I never found anything particularly wrong with things, I have yet to figure out why Rack would get scared and want to come in. Maybe an off shore shower, a trash truck a half mile off, or just a leaf moving in another city. Who knows! Dog Logic!
What I did find was a thing of beauty.
I have to turn on as many lights as I can when I let him out back. While we have snakes hiding in the brush, toads under the trees, and other things that go bump in the night, they have always let us be.
I would walk out and cluelessly just wait for him to come back. It was never really enough time to be productive. Then I started looking around. The moon and the stars would rise over the pool. The breezes felt wonderful on my face. The sun rose over the ocean and hours before there will be lightening of the skies so as that proceeded, the colors would shift.
I learned that Rack was teaching me to observe while he had me wait for him to come back out from behind that particular plant.
So listen to your dog. They may not say much, but they can teach. You only have to learn.