Make Time to Sniff

 Oliver Wendell

Oliver Wendell

This is Oliver. He is my hiking buddy. If someone would have told me a year ago I would own a dog today (a puppy!), I would not have believed it. Having had a dog for most of my adult life, I was content being pet-less for a change.  Didn’t think I wanted another being to be responsible for.

Oliver wrapped himself around my heart on February 1 and I have not been the same since. Now that it’s cooler here in Phoenix, he is my hiking pal. When he sees the boots come out, he knows he is in for an adventure and gets very excited.

My usual routine when hiking alone was often to walk a steady pace to the top of the mountain without stopping. Sometimes I would measure my time to see if I could beat previous times. Sometimes I would speed up for intervals to get maximum fitness bonus points. To me, these are fun and maybe even worthy ways of hiking.

With Oliver, the routine is different. Oliver doesn’t just walk for exercise though he certainly loves that aspect of it. He walks to sniff. The plants and trail contain a universe of doggy information. People, dogs, coyotes and who knows what else. Oliver is in olfactory heaven on the mountain.

Sometimes I feel a slight edge of impatience as he stops to sniff the territory just when I am warmed up and hiking steadily. I noticed this today. We were walking down the hill where a dog had just been a few minutes prior. Oliver was wagging and sniffing and taking his sweet time. At first, I was a little antsy. I could have redirected him, but I didn’t.

I soon realized it was a great opportunity for some water. To admire the surrounding mountains. To acknowledge the beautiful weather. To appreciate my strength, health, and vitality. To love my dog, who loves life and all the moments it contains. The human version of sniffing.

There’s an insight here.

It’s as simple as this…

Life’s really lovely when I Make Time to Sniff.

Thanks for showing me this Oliver. And happy first birthday.

gayle nobel