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Early morning view of Mount Lemmon taken while walking Scamp. — Photo by Pat Bean

          “Everybody should have a shelter dog. It’s good for the soul.” – Paul Shaffer

Who Needs a Gym Membership?

          Scamp, my rowdy, half-trained canine companion, wakes me shortly before 6 a.m., impatiently eager for our morning walk. He snuggles next to me and kisses my face sweetly. He is always sweet in the morning. I scratch behind his ears, run my hands over his furry body, and rub the night boogers away from his eyes.

And then, to complete our morning ritual, I ask him if he’s ready for our walk. His reply is to wiggle all over, give me one last sloppy kiss, and then to hop down from the bed, but only after I have at least one foot on the floor. I don’t think he trusts that I really will get up.

Can’t you put your shoes on faster? I imagine Scamp asking as he waits for his morning walk. –Photo by Pat Bean 

Scamp then paces around me as I throw on some clothes, and lies in front of me as I sit in my living room recliner to put on my shoes and lace them up. This latter behavior is much appreciated. I adopted Scamp as an eight-month-old from a rescue shelter in May, and for the next two months, he kept attacking my feet as I tried to put on my shoes.

With a good grip on his leash, I open the door and tell him to wait before we walk down three flights of stairs. He is slowly learning to do that, but I always hang on to the railing as we go down. Sometimes he’s still too much of a puppy to go at my pace.

Once down, Scamp takes a long pee, and I praise him, thankful that he is now sleeping all through the night without a potty break. Then we take a meandering walk through my large apartment complex, with Scamp marking most trees as we pass them. He usually waits until we get to an upper courtyard level before doing his other business, which I dutifully pick up and dispose of at the pooper station.

Most mornings, it’s just the two of us out an about. It’s peaceful. I love the freshness of a morning with the sun peeking up from the horizons. We have resident great horned owls, and sometimes they are still up and, hooting from one of the tall trees. The morning view of Mount Lemmon, never quite the same, lifts my soul and prepares it for the day ahead.

If there are others up at this early hour, walking their dogs or heading off to work, Scamp wants to greet them. He’s become a favorite of many of the residents and mostly they stop and give him a pat or two.

Scamp, since I adopted him, has never met a human or a dog he doesn’t like. That makes up for a lot of his other faults, like pulling, chewing and demanding attention.

Once back in my apartment, I feed Scamp before brushing my teeth and making coffee for myself. Most mornings I drink my coffee on my third-floor balcony with a book in my hand and Scamp at my feet watching the world go by below.

I can’t think of a better way to start my day – which will include at least four more walks for Scamp and me. He and the stairs are this 80-year-old’s exercise plan – a rare one that can’t be skipped.

I count myself blessed.

Bean Pat: Writing myths https://ryanlanz.com/2019/10/05/6-myths-about-writing-2/ One of the writing blogs I follow.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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