Saturday, 28 November 2020
Kirk and Aubie work their way Up the Coast Kirk and Aubie work their way Up the Coast Kirk Walden

My dog teaches me to dream big; you can too

Most mornings, it is my sworn duty to take our dog, Aubie, out for his morning constitutional. We trot down the front steps, take a right and saunter down the driveway.

First stop? Our mailbox, where Aubie uncovers great truths about our neighborhood, such as which dogs have been by to mark their territory. Aubie usually puts his nose to the ground, sniffs a few times, then looks up as if to say, “I think Santana came by yesterday, around 4.” Good to know.

We then work our way “Up the Coast,” which means we amble along a drainage culvert next to our street. I stay on the road, Aubie splits his time between pavement and grass, and if he doesn’t stick his paws in the water, all's right with the world.

Aubie is, shall we say, “deliberate” about doing his business. He has all the time in the world. On a wet day, he might find a worm. He will then roll all over wherever the worm has been, for reasons I cannot imagine. He stops at the same places each day, never tiring of the routine. For him, each trip up the coast is an adventure to be savored.

At some point, I finally stop walking. Because Aubie is on a leash, he takes a few more steps before facing the stark, brutal reality that we’re at the end of the road. If he’s going to get the job done, he knows to stop dawdling and make it happen.

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There’s no reason to go into detail about what happens next. We all know how that works. Once Aubie finishes staking out the perfect “stall”—which takes an average of 7.8 attempts per trip--we’re good.

We then work our way back down the Coast, as Aubie stops at each checkpoint once again.

Through this process, I have time to think. A lot of time. I survey my yard, devising grand strategies to create such an awesome backyard, my neighbors will one day gasp in awe, stopping to take selfies with my glorious grass as a backdrop. I promise you this will happen. Perhaps only after we see “A new Heaven and a new Earth,” but it will happen.

But our morning Trip Up the Coast does something else for me, too. It forces me—against all my instincts—to slow down so I can dream. In my home office, it’s easy to get bogged down in emails, To-Do lists, writing projects, video projects . . . there is always something to do.

While walking Aubie however, I can’t work on a writing project or answer emails. I’ve tried answering an email and found holding a phone and a leash gets complicated. Instead, these morning strolls allow me to dream of what can be. And dreaming is so much easier when I’m not in the office with “the next thing” beckoning my attention. 

Kirk gets to dream daily with Aubie/Kirk Walden

I can’t tell you how many ideas gain traction as I amble along with a leash in my right hand and a dog beside me, finding treasures of rock, worm and grass.

The point of this riveting column on dog-walking? If we—the pregnancy help community—are to be most effective, we’ve got to do some dreaming of what we can be. To do this, we must get out of the office and away from distractions.

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Even if it’s only an hour in a coffee shop, slip away with some paper and jot down ideas. Dream big. For these dreaming opportunities, don’t worry about budgets and bottom lines. Think of possibilities instead.

Another idea? Get away and join with other dreamers. One opportunity is Heartbeat International’s Annual Pregnancy Help Conference, April 14-16 in Seattle. Conferences allow us to glean and share ideas . . . and think big, too.  

Whether it’s a cup of coffee a block or so away from the office, or a trip to a national conference, let’s take the time to escape the lists and activities—and think big. 

One more option? You can rent Aubie from me, anytime. He’s ready to go—if you know what I mean.

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau. His new Faith Revolution Podcast is online at

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