rituals: walking in the mornings (kate gallagher).

Guest post Tuesday! Today you get to hear from Kate, the girl I shared a “Best Friends Forever” necklace with in the fifth grade. Her not-so-boring ritual really does make the story deeper, especially if you’re a dog owner, and especially if you need to start your day on a new foot. Enjoy!

Kate's pups.
Kate’s pups.

My husband and I and our two dogs moved in June.

This is not an unusual practice for us since we have moved at least every two years if not more often in the 15 years we’ve been together. Our dogs have been along for this ride for the last 7-8 years and they’re troopers.

I’d expected this move to be easier on us all because we were not closing on the old and new places on the same day; we had a two-week period of wiggle room that I’d assumed would make everything less stressful and less rushed.

Well, that was not the case. Is it ever?

All it did was allow me to drag things out and as a result, we lived in a state of chaos in both places for a month. This was in the middle of busy workloads for my husband and I with travel almost every week on opposite coasts, not to mention the start of summer and all of the events and activities that kick into full gear.

To make things even more fun/smooth/calm (NOT), we were downsizing from a three-bedroom house with yard and garage to a tiny condo downtown with no yard, garage or things like a linen closet, pantry or walk in closets.

Hopefully that sets the stage…

Before we moved, I realized I’d need to change up my dog-walking routine because they were going to need more exercise and earlier in the day if I was going to leave them with my work-from-home husband and not have everyone go nuts, with no yard to fall back on.

I decided we’d start walking in the mornings before I went to work.

I’ve owned dogs for the last 15 years of my life and had NEVER walked them in the mornings. In spite of being a morning person, I’d spent most of my working life taking buses to work and my morning schedule was always tight. But one of the many benefits of moving downtown and being barely a mile from my office was that I was no longer tethered to a bus schedule and finally had a bit more flexibility in the morning. This was quite a treat! I vowed not to waste it.

So, our first few mornings in the new place felt like an absolute disaster. Yes, we’d weeded out belongings and made countless trips to donation centers. No, it wasn’t nearly enough. Every inch of our new condo felt overstuffed and disorganized and we were tripping over each other and everything we owned.

Honestly, putting on leashes and heading out for a morning walk felt like escaping. I’d researched our neighborhood and discovered a city park four blocks away.

We set off to check out this park, walking past construction sites of new condo buildings going up, walking past the winery two blocks away, past the brewery across the street, past the Mexican restaurant frying tortillas in corn oil every morning (drool), past the coffee shop, past the dry cleaner, the closed tattoo parlor and past the pot shops. Our new neighborhood was hopping! The park featured tennis courts, a pool, horseshoe pits and lots of grass.

My pups looooved their new park right away. They love the squirrels in the trees, the countless birds and most of all, the bunny who’s curiously taken up residence.

We’ve had this new morning routine for the last three months and it’s impacted me more than I anticipated. Alone time with my girls has always been one of the highlights of my day and though I have enjoyed our evening walks for many years, starting the day off with them and their hilarious, eager personalities has changed my outlook and my mood as I drive to work just half an hour later.

My dogs are pullers and not a day goes by that I don’t get one or two funny comments from passersby about just who is walking who. My dogs now bound out of bed ready to get after it on the streets. They know that bunny is waiting!

It’s been such a fantastic reminder for me to appreciate their simple enjoyment of each day. To start each day with enthusiasm, energy and a clean slate. I only wish I’d started this ritual sooner.


Kate lives in Denver with Curt, her husband of eight years, and two Brittany spaniels. She loves to cook, eat, hike, camp, bike, walk her dogs and read non-fiction, while also fitting in lots of DIY projects with Curt. It’s Cara again: as a former dog owner, I know it takes a lot to show up every morning and give those pups what they need. And I love how Kate brought us full circle, before, during and after. How did her words impact you today?

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