Get a Dog, Say Hello to Simple Reality

I wasn’t planning to write this post today.

Golden Retriever on a dock

Conflicting urges. Must. Retrieve. But. Don't. Swim.

Of course, I also wasn’t planning to have my Twitter account  hacked twice in two days (go ahead and click to follow; you’ll eventually get access to some really great weight loss advice and cheap Viagra) and my Triberr login fail.

Time to reenter reality.

Walking a dog back to reality

Before sitting down to all my computer problems last night, I took Honey for a walk.

I wasn’t eager to go out in the dark and cold. I put Honey in her Easy Walk harness so I wouldn’t have to be so attentive about not letting her pull on leash.

Of course Honey was into it right away. She never has a bad attitude about taking a walk–no matter what the weather.

Our route was determined by what smelled good.

If Honey’s nose led her left, we went left. It it led straight on, we went straight.

Pretty soon, I had forgotten that I wasn’t planning to have fun on this walk.  Honey made it fun.

Dogs remind us to be in our bodies

Ducks swimming

The subject of Honey's interest.

That may sound strange to some. Could we be “out” of our bodies?

I don’t know about you but I spend an awful lot of time in my head.

Some mornings I will sit down to my blogs for so long that when I get up I’ve lost all feeling in my legs and can’t stand without leaning on something.

And what about all the time I spend worrying about what will happen if…?

Last night, after we had caught most of the major smells in the neighborhood, Honey and I ran the last half mile home. Sometimes she’d let me know I was passing too quickly by some great smell lurking in the fallen leaves.

But mostly we just ran.

Computers take us out of our bodies

Even if most of your computing is mobile, you probably don’t do it with the wind blowing over your skin.

We mostly use computers indoors under artificial lights.

As someone old enough to remember punched card utility bills and who was on the internet before the World Wide Web (anyone else remember Gopher?), I appreciate the power I have at my fingertips.

And I really love “meeting” people online from all over the world.

But if I spend too much time online, everything starts to feel unreal.

Getting “real” today

And that’s why, despite having a raft of computer problems to solve, I’m taking Honey to the dog park with a friend.

When we come back, I’m going to make a big breakfast of pancakes with spiced apples and home fries. And I’m going to talk to my friend while Honey sleeps with her head on one of our laps (I told you she was slutty; Honey is not a one-woman dog).

There’s nothing like swallowing dog hair, tossing a ball until your arm falls off and picking up poop to keep you grounded.

Do you feel tension between the real and virtual worlds? How do you stay grounded?

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  1. I definitely feel the tension. Since my job keeps me on the computer from 9 to 5 every week day, and my blog responsibilities keep me on it all night, I make a real effort to be as un-plugged in as possible on weekends. Usually I have a no-blogging on weekends rule, in fact, and I do my best to keep my laptop firmly closed. However, now that I’ve decided to participate in NaBlo again, that rule will be ignored for the next few weeks. 😛 Silly human.

    Those pancakes sound yummy! I hope you enjoy!

    • I’ve noticed many people try to avoid blog activities on the weekend. It is good to have a break.

      BTW, I’m doing NaBloPoMo too. But I didn’t declare it in case I don’t make it.

  2. I agree – getting out in the wind and weather definitely helps you feel grounded. And what better reason to get out than to walk your dog?

    I spend entirely too much time indoors in front of the computer, and unfortunately there are no dogs here to lure me away. I miss the days when I had two dogs to walk so I had a reason to be outside every day and watch the seasons change.

  3. I definitely need to be reminded of this lesson every now and then. I have to say after reading this post I may turn off the computer and make new Saturday morning plans that include pancakes, a leisurely walk, and a sleeping dog in my lap.

  4. homewithcubbie says:

    I’m totally the same way. Going on a walk with your dog is a wonderful way to get out, and just enjoy being yourself with your dog. I don’t put headphones on and I especially don’t use my iphone as we’re walking! (My husband does and it drives me insane!)

    • I’ve never understood the point of talking on a phone while walking a dog. You miss so much.

      Glad to hear you know how to really enjoy walking a dog.

  5. I once “said” to on online friend how I needed to get back to the “real world.” I know how helpful computers, blogs and Petfinder are today but sometimes they overtake my life. I currently have dogs with emotional issues – ones who need my physical presence, not my digital one. I keep trying to have a digital free Sunday – I still fail but am failing less each week – one day I will be offline from Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown – won’t the dogs and my home be amazed! As I mentioned in church prayer once, I need to walk more often – with 21 dogs at home, I always have a companion.
    I love the way you let Honey decide how and where to walk. I drive a trainer friend of mine crazy because, to me, my dog walks are, well, for the DOGS – these are hounds – they need to sniff a lot! Running with my first Beagle Oliver was an exercise in futility; when Oliver stopped to sniff, he turned into a concrete block – I had no choice but to stop and enjoy the roses (metaphorically speaking). Kudos to your walks.

    • Walking with a hound is a whole other exercise. I learned that for the first time walking my last dog, Shadow (she’s in the banner of my blog). The hound nose is a force of nature.

      Good for you for trying to put your computer time in a reasonable place.

  6. I have to agree, being on the computer takes a lot of my time. I sit in front of one all day and if I’m lucky I have time to work on my blog post during the work day. But as soon as I’ve done my night chores, I’m back on it again.

    I love walking the dogs even though sometimes I am thinking about a blog post, I just love the freedom of being out enjoying nature with my fur loves.

    I think I need a 12-Step program to break my electronic addiction.

  7. Actually it is my cat that takes me back to reality. She jumps up on the desk and paws at the keyboard which is a reminder that she wants to curl up in my warm chair and have a quiet house.

  8. You’ve truly captured the wonderful sense of walking with a dog. You reminded me of something that meant so very much to me. Many years ago, while recovering from cancer, I was very ill for close to a year. Yet each afternoon I’d get up to take a 3 p.m. walk in the meadow with my dear collie by my side. Thanks so much. And I’m sorry your Twitter account was hacked. What a bummer. I hope you managed to get it all straightened out.

  9. I have a USB port in my navel.

    The laws of the Jewish Sabbath (as practised by observant Jews, at any rate), dictate that we use no electrical devices from sundown Friday to one hour after Sundown Saturday. The same is true of most Jewish holidays. These are religiously enforced breaks from electronic gadgetry– no phone, no computer, no TV, no nothing (which is VERY HARD during play-off season– I missed the 7th game of the World Series and I’m still annoyed by it). I’m actually worried about the death of printed books– if I can’t read on Saturdays because Kindle and iPads have taken over, what will we do???

    When it gets to be too much during the week, I head to the dog park… where I take pictures on my iPhone and text with the Spouse. Sigh.

    • What are you going to do when USB ports are replaced by the next wave of technology?

      Many people who don’t have a religious tradition of Sabbath are trying to create their own. I don’t know what it will take for me to start a similar tradition. I feel guilty when I’m on the computer because I’m neglecting my family. I feel guilty when I’m off the computer because I’m not moving my goals forward. :)

  10. Pamela, please fix that for me– from one hour after SUNDOWN Saturday, not SUNDAY Saturday– sheesh.

  11. Oh yeah, this is something I struggle with a lot! It’s one of the reasons I try to take it easy on the weekends and get out with the hubby and dogs some to do our hiking or photography or other stuff. I mean, really, if we don’t get out and live life, what do I have to write about? I want to be present in what I do. I think this is one of the areas where I really struggle with the blog and being online. If I comment on a blog, I want someone to know that what they posted affected me in some way. I find it a bit hurtful when people leave one or two word comments on my blog with the expectation that I’ll comment on theirs. It’s never been a competition to me, but I also do want to be “fair.” I remember what it was like to be just starting out with my blog and how excited I was that other people even read what I wrote, much less commented on it. It was exhilarating for me. I don’t always do a good job about finding balance with this aspect of life, but I try.

    • You are such a prolific and thoughtful commenter. I don’t know how you do it all.

      It is hard to balance because I also feel that spending time on the computer is also about community and supporting others.

      But, of course, we have people who live with us who also need support.

      Someday we’ll probably have ports in our brains so we can post comments or blog posts while doing mindless tasks–like talking a shower.

  12. If I’m on the computer too long Bongo will come up next to me and start jumping up and down. He’s really hard to ignore.

  13. My cats and Cali always do their best to remind me that they are much more fun than the computer :) Walking Cali always helps me clear my head and enjoy the moment – we are so lucky to have them! Sorry to hear about all of your computer problems! Hope they are ironed out soon . .in the meantime, enjoy your time with Honey :)

    • Isn’t it amazing how even when you don’t feel like going for a walk, you have a great time once you get out there? Dogs must be magic!

  14. I sometimes wonder what I’d do without the dogs – they are my escape too. If I didn’t take them for walks, to training classes, or even just out for play time in the yard, I fear I’d become one of those greasy haired, pimply faced, pasty skinned, overweight computer nerds. :-)

    • BOL! So the answer to nerdiness is adopting a dog? That should be the next pet adoption video Edie Jarolim posts at Will My Dog Hate Me. :)

  15. There just never seems to be enough hours in a day! I spend a lot of time writing and I’ll often scrap a post at the last minute and start again – or leave it unfinished and come back when I am feeling more inspired. My perfectionism tends to keep me at the keyboard much longer than necessary. This weekend’s blogathon was a good lesson for me. 24 posts in 24 hours meant that I rarely had longer than 60 minutes to write, edit and format each post. (Guest bloggers gave me some leeway, but not a ton.) The posts aren’t my best writing, but they aren’t my worst either. It was an eye opener to see how much I could accomplish in just an hour if I buckled down and did it. And today’s lazy afternoon playing fetch, walking and snuggling was a great reward for learning to let go of the keys.

  16. I absolutely have a tough time staying in my body. Yoga is the best way I’ve found to relieve that tension – even if it’s only 20 minutes per day. I have to admit that I haven’t been very good at setting that time aside, but I’m hoping to get back to it once we land in Austin for the winter. Spending time with the dogs is the other thing that gets me out of my head – not just walking them and continuing to run down the to-do list in my mind – but really making an effort to be present with them. Watch their body language, notice how happy they are, work on teaching them a new trick. The amazing thing that I’ve found … though I often feel I don’t have time to take a break from the computer, so far the world has continued to spin on it’s axis without me.

  17. I didn’t realise I’d missed reading so many of your posts while I’ve been MIA! And I’m trying to find out why you don’t have a car any more:) Is there a post on it that I haven’t found yet?

    This really strikes a chord with me as I try and keep up with too many blogs and recently I just had to stop doing anything more than skip through my emails and then blob on the couch with Frankie and Beryl in front of TV for an hour or so or I think I would have lost my sanity! The world has kept revolving without any posts from me and nobody has stopped doing their blogs because I haven’t had time to read or comment:) And people are kind enough to stop by and read the few posts I’ve managed lately and comment even though I haven’t been able to reciprocate:) I am very grateful for that. While I don’t feel tension about not blogging much myself I do feel bad about not being able to keep up with the blogs I love, and even the blogs I like:) But it’s more important to me to have some down time for myself and spend some quality time with the kids.


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