You know who doesn’t complain when he’s out hiking with me? Who doesn’t groan that he’s tired or his stomach hurts? Who doesn’t drag his feet? Who doesn’t ask me how much further it is or insist on a break or pointedly swat at the deer flies?
The dog, that’s who.
Marley is always delighted to go for a hike. He bounds up the trail, so pleased that—yet again—we’re spending the morning doing the same thing we did yesterday and the day before. Just tickled pink that the woods are still there today.
Sure, sometimes he runs off after a deer or a small bear. And he’s been known to take a wrong turn or go too far ahead. But he comes racing back eventually, tags a-jingle and tail… you get the idea. Or he’ll stop in the path, ears raised, and look back until the clumsy human with her two legs catches up, and then canter on again.
True, he runs right through streams—panting—and I have to call him back to point out the water. But that’s only because he’s so busy leaping and sniffing that he forgets to drink.
Marley doesn’t talk while he hikes. He doesn’t spend 45 minutes deconstructing Episode III of Star Wars or recount every single play in a recent D&D game or devote the entire descent of a mountain to verbalizing a fantasy war with his friend during which they battle for control of the world. He just hikes. Near me. Without speaking to me.