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A dog's walk – from the perspective of a pooch

Even though we don’t have kids at home anymore, I still love to read children’s books, especially stories that remind us that our fellow animals are as conscious as we are and as motivated by longings.

And so I walked into a bookstore a few days ago in search of new stories and inspiration, and I found a delightful children’s book, A Dog Day, by British author Emily Rand.

Very cleverly, the author gets inside the mind of a friendly terrier who patiently accompanies her human on a walk. The dog yearns to visit the park, but his human takes him through crowds, stops frequently to chat with friends, and visits numerous shops along the way.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Written for children ages two to four, this nicely illustrated book is a playful reminder that we need to tune into our four-legged friends, especially when taking them for a walk. But when we clip on the leash and head outdoors, do we even know what our dog longs for?

Alexandra Horowitz , an animal psychologist and devoted dog owner, explores this question in her book On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation. Her conclusion? Daily walks are of course necessary to allow a dog to pee and to exercise, but from a canine perspective, they can feel like routine sensory deprivation.

What about walks to see more of the world? Walks to interact with other dogs? Walks to smell new smells? “I began to see,” Horowitz writes, “how horrible a long block with no trees or lampposts was: where could one receive word, through the markings of other dogs, who has been around? Where could one leave word oneself.”

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