I was walking my 13-year-old dog yesterday. He’s got bad hips, bad eyes, but still thinks he loves to go for long walks. For years he pulled so hard on the leash that my right shoulder throbbed for a solid decade. Now, I have to drag him around the block. He’s never close to walking ahead of me. It’s extremely frustrating, because I want to set the pace.

So yesterday, I tried something new. Instead of pulling on him for the entire walk, I would stop until the leash went slack. Then I would walk until it tightened. I quit looking back at what he was up to: odds are, it involved smelling and peeing. Most often, I moved at the pace of a geriatric, but I quickly found that it was much more enjoyable having the dog walk me. I moved forward when I could, not when I wanted to. I let go and let dog.

Today, I’m grateful: that I’m still teachable.

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