Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Walking the dog

13th January, 2018

It occurred to me the other evening, while walking the dog, that mundane actions like that aren’t much recorded these days. Sure there may be the occasional photo and video, but nothing ever really Instagram-worthy (what is?!) or notable in general. However, it is something that we do on a daily basis (other than when the other half takes him on their own) and is an important family ritual.

While we try and give Eddie varied walks, of at least 30 minutes and covering lots of areas for him to explore, our evening walks (usually for around 25 minutes between 9pm and 10pm) usually follow the same route. It’s well lit (for when it’s dark and the weather is foul, like at the moment), familiar, and gives everyone a chance to wind down at the end of the day.

The route itself is particularly unimaginative. When you walk it, it feels like a square, when really it is rectangular. We start just over half way down a long side, walking north-easterly. This is usually calm in terms of weather as the houses are all behind us, and it’s rare the wind comes from the north east. Next it’s a ninety degree turn to the left, heading north west, which is reasonably sheltered. Another ninety degree left hander takes us on to the long back walk, which is often the worst bit; as well as being the longest continuous side, the weather is often right in your face here, and there’s quite a bit without paths so you are listening for cars. The final whole side is south-easterly and not very well sheltered, so while you are facing away from the worst of the weather, it is still getting you in the back. The final leg towards the house is the remainder of the first side, which is usually rather uneventful.

Walking the dog has become largely a very theraputic experience. It’s a little bit of exercise, a chance to get outside, and generally not worry about anything for half an hour, other than poop scooping! Eddie, following a year of rigorous training, is largely calm and very well behaved on the lead and now has gotten to know the route, so drags us around it!

Admittedly I also use the time observing: watching the dog for his little behaviours as he sniffs on way and the other; the BMW i3 owner who clearly thought better and whos driveway now features a sparkly sky blue Merc GLA; the Christmas lights as they come down slowly; the neighbours driving carefully on the estate and those not doing quite so well at it.

It’s also amazing how varied a social occasion it is. Sometimes we will walk every night at different times for a week and not see another soul; other times we will see the same neighbour out with their dog three nights in a row. Eddie loves to make friends, and knows who in the estate will tickle him behind the ears, and which dogs will growl at him if he goes too close (not many as he is huge). I now carry a bag of home-made cheesy dog treats in my coat pocket to keep all the other canine residents happy!