Thanks to walking my dog, I now have extra sensory perceptions. Let me explain.
Seeing "You see but you do not observe," Sherlock Holmes would tell Watson. I see lots of things on all kinds of screens, but being with my dog forces me to observe my surroundings more carefully. I need to recognize subtle changes in her body language — the direction of her nose, the position of her ears, the posture of her body, and the activity of her tail, to anticipate and keep her from chasing a squirrel in a tree on the next block. Or freaking out at another dog. Hearing I hear lots of things through my various devices, but mostly it is in a language I understand or is music I can just enjoy. With my dog, I don't really know what all her barks, growls, and whines mean and sometimes I can't even tell what she hears. But I am always listening to our surroundings and the sounds she makes, so I don't wear ear buds while she is walking me.
Smelling Smell tends to be underutilized in the modern world and frankly, I am glad about that. But dogs are all about smell. Their noses know things I cannot begin to comprehend. But as a conscientious dog owner, I have become quite familiar with the smell of dog droppings and the fragrance of the poop bags themselves. And now that the rains have come, it seems that I have the smell of wet dog to look forward to. Touching Some people say, "Pinch me, I must be dreaming," because something about touch feels more real, perhaps especially in this digital age. My dog makes me more acutely aware of what is real through the feel of her soft fur, her insistent pull on the leash, or the warmth of her poop. Tasting Many places in the world eat dog, but I have not yet partaken and don't know if I ever will. My daughter wanted to know what dog food and dog treats tasted like and so she tried them. That was apparently enough to satisfy her curiosity about that particular question. I did not have her daring. So other than tasting, taking my dog for a walk several times a day has opened my eyes and other orifices to the world around me. But even if you don't have a dog, I'd recommend making the most of your senses to get more out of life.
Written by: Raymond Nakamura