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Zen and The Art of Waldo Maintenance

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Waldo and I take a 4 mile walk every day. Labradoodles are an "active" breed, meaning without exercise they act like a cross between Yeti and Linda Blair from The Exorcist. We thought this acute need would wear off after the puppy stage but no, and as “heel” has taken a back seat to “don’t jump on Aunt Martha or she’ll throw up again” all the neighbors are used to the sight of him yanking me down the street. Please don’t hate us for being pathetic dog trainers.

On our walks Waldo is easily distracted by the merest whisper of a sound or smell that only he picks up. We share our semi-rural environment with squirrels, snakes, lizards, deer, gophers, voles and the odd fox or two, any of which sets off DEFCON 5. A cat running across the road = my arm out of its socket.

I used to get incredibly impatient. Didn’t he understand the objective of our walk was to finish it as soon as [humanly] possible? No, actually, Waldo’s objective is to sniff everything in our path and root out each mammal in a 10-mile radius. Gradually it dawned on me that he is, in fact, stopping to smell the roses while I am busily not being in the moment.

So now I try to notice that I am not in the moment. That’s as far as I’ve gotten, noticing. Supposedly after possibly years of noticing, I will begin to actually be in the moment. What I worry about is whether the moment will be any better than wherever it is I am now but I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude.