Ode to My Furry Friend (On the Merits of Dog Walking)

A friend and fellow dog owner passed on this poem to me this morning. Reminded me why hanging out with our furry friends is so good for our mental wellbeing.

Golden Retrievals by Mark Doty

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,

or else you’re off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof!), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.

The dog is bounding about excitedly, taking in all around him. The ‘haze-headed’ owner either ‘sunk in the past’ or ‘off in some fog concerning tomorrow.’ What an apt description of us humans. Too caught up ruminating about things gone wrong or anxious about what else might to be present in the moment. We miss so much. Lucky for me, my pup likes me to be intimately involved in his walk; he is continually pulling me out of my head and into his discoveries. He takes his job of ‘unsnaring time’s warp’ very seriously. Mornings with him are ‘entirely now, bow-wow.’ Thanks, Teddy.

How are you managing time’s warp?

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