My dog leads the way to joy

To chore or not to chore.

That is the question.

The debate between people like me.

Crazy mad dog lover.

And people like my husband.

People who don’t get the whole dog thing.

“Have you done your chores this morning?” he’ll ask.

Let me translate:

“Have I walked you walked the dog?”

No matter how I try to explain, he just doesn’t get the concept.

Walking my dog is not a chore.

It is, simply, joy.

I love watching the way her tail wags to a certain beat.

The flap, flap, flapping of the fold of her ears as she bounces down the street.

Even the way she overcomes the slight limp from the arthritis in her left hip.

The way she turns back about every 12 feet just to check on me to make sure I’m still there.

There’s the fun of running into other dog friends.

You know the kind: You remember the name of the dog, but for the life of you can’t remember the name of their human.

Complete awkwardness, of course, is running into the same human without their dog, like in the grocery store. “Oh hello, uh, Pepper’s mom!” is the best improvisation I can come up with.

But back to our dog walk, Dear Fellow Dog Lover Reader.

I tried taking Husband on these walks. Surely, he would see the joy.


He was fidgety.

The walk was something to be endured like getting through a traffic jam, just wanting to get home.

Darla and I now leave him home.

I’m betting you understand.

It’s possible you get the same daily joy with your dog?

The time you would never set aside to get tht breath of fresh air.

To let your mind wander.

To just be.

It’s when I’m able to dream up ideas.

Stuck for a topic for this column?

I simply leash up Darla and head out for a smile and inspiration.

Oh, sweet Darla Dog.

She’s going on 15 years old now.

Our walks are so much shorter than they were when she was a pup.

Used to be, we’d have to walk an hour through three different neighborhood parks just to get out all her puppy energy.

These days, she often snores her way through our afternoon walk, figuring the front steps won’t be worth the effort.

“One less chore,” my husband would say.

“Hardly,” I say.

More like a day with 15 minutes fewer joy.

Think I’ll grab Darla’s leash and we’ll head out to think about this a little more.

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Daryn Kagan is the author of “What’s Possible! 50 True Stories of People Who Dared To Dream They Could Make a Difference.” Email her at