verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dog Walker Tip# 4: Walkaholism

Walking dogs can make you feel really good, especially if we're talking about a day like today.  It's early November and it's clear, sunny, and the air temperature is very friendly for this time of year.  Everyone is outside, and feeling good is coming easy.

Even on the days when the weather is more challenging, there is something quite pleasing about coming in out of the cold, with the smell of cold air clinging to your clothes and hair.  You and your dog look at each other with a nod of approval and mutual adoration.  "That felt good. What a good walk", he says with his gaze. You have your own little private club with this walking routine, the two of you.

So the feel-good feeling sticks.  So you walk again.  And then again. And yet again.  After all, this is what dogs need and want, and a walked dog is a contented dog, and a contented dog is a calm and quiet dog, and a calm and quiet dog is a calm and quiet dog walker. And so the routine is established and depending on certain factors such as time availability, family history, and frequency and duration of the walks, a bit of dependency can develop.  In no time at all, dog and walker are out there everyday thinking about nothing except the next chance to walk.  Dog and Walker become so focused on getting to that next walk that no weather situation, no backlog of unfinished housework, and no amount of fatigue will deter them. It's subtle and easy to confuse, but there's a fine distinction between walking a straight line, and walking into trouble.

Signs of a walkaholism include:

  • sneaking out to walk alone with your dog
  • lying and saying the dog made you go
  • telling the boss you're at a meeting and then dashing home to walk your dog
  • silently wondering if you need to cut back on walking
  • craving a walk
  • walking early in the morning in your pajamas, your daughter's zip-up, and your cowboy boots, and not caring who sees you

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a walking problem.  Withdrawal symptoms range from muscle stiffness to moodiness and headaches.   Fortunately, symptoms are temporary and don't require medical supervision.

But don't let this happen to you.  While walking your dog is a good way to feel good, and feeling good just plain old feels good, too much walking and too much feeling good leads to the inability to tolerate anything that isn't about feeling good.  This is called walkaholism and as they say, once a walkaholic, always a walkaholic. It is therefore suggested by old time dog walkers that a day of rest be taken every few days.  That's right.  Lay on the couch, read the funnies, scratch your belly, read catalogues.  Waste time.  Do nothing and do it with all earnestness. This will vastly improve the quality of your next walk and curb your walkaholism one day at a time. This practice will not only rest your dog and give him a day to snooze and dream chipmunk dreams, but it will allow you to replenish your energy levels and reflect on your progress.

Most importantly, it will just plain old feel good.

1 comment:

  1. 1) How do you work a 12-step program when you become addicted to the steps? Or is it a 12-sit program?
    2) It must be difficult to not find a meeting withing walking distance.