Sylvia Plath said, in her iconic novel The Bell Jar, that there are few problems that can't be solved by the taking of a warm bath. I think she was probably right. But I actually don't have a bathtub, so I have to settle for the other cure-all activity: dog walking.
My younger daughter has been watching a lot of The Dog Whisperer lately, and I have noticed, from the snippets I have seen, that each episode begins more or less the same way: with the Dog Whisperer snapping a leash on the problem dog and going for a nice, long walk. (With very active dogs, he sometimes puts on his roller skates so the dog gets an even more intense workout.) Then, with the dog calm, subdued, and tired, he begins the work of tackling the behavioral problem at hand.
There should be a show called The People Whisperer. In which Trixie and Sparky, the well-adjusted rescue dogs, take a daily hour-long morning walk with their anxious, hyperactive mom, thereby tiring her body, easing her mind, and preparing her to tackle a day's work. At the end of each episode, the stars enjoy a Milk-Bone or a yogurt, depending on their species, and then curl up and take a nap (or start writing a habeas corpus petition, again, depending on their species).
The People Whisperer debuted this morning, with a walk along the railroad tracks near my home. I chose this route because (1) it's wide open and grassy, with no traffic to dodge, (2) it's easy to get to, and (3) we were unlikely to run into anyone we knew.
But look who we did run into. I was amazed at how close I was able to get, while holding two leashed but excited dogs and fumbling with my camera. I took this picture from about twenty feet away.
What a beautiful way to start a day. I recommend it highly.
P.S. Here's a bonus shot of Sparky, riding shotgun in my car. He loves to ride in the car and takes it very seriously. As you can see from his alert expression, he considers it his job to accompany me, even on the most petty of errands. He is the definition of a good dog.