Morning Ritual with the Doggie Lama

The Doggie Lama, Wing Nut the Labrador, Stopping to Smell Flowers on her Morning Ritual, Helena, Montana

I lay very still in my bed. Careful to not move an inch. If I even make the slightest of movements, she will sense it and then my quiet slumber ends and her fun begins. I can’t wait any longer, I have to get up and go to the bathroom. Before I can get my feet off the mattress, the door flies open and in bounds a bouncing Labrador waving her front paws in the air as if she could walk on those hind legs, very excited to start her day.

Wing nut the labrador

She is my three year old black labrador retriever named Wing Nut. It’s ok to question the name, I didn’t name her, but she has grown to suit her name. I often call her, Wingy, Nut Job, Nutter Butter, or during our Morning Rituals – the Doggie Lama.

I hobble out of bed, scoop dog food into her bowl to pacify the excited pup while I quickly brush my teeth, grab my phone, a water bottle, and out the door. Off we head to the glorious hills of Helena, Montana. We have the second largest city park in the United States after Central Park in New York City. Helena’s park is by no means “city”. We are surrounded by trails enjoyed by mountain bikers, runners, hikers, and our most loyal furry friends. There is even the occasional black bear and mountain lion sighting.

The Ritual

The Doggie Lama, Wingnut the Labrador, Waiting for her Walk, Helena, Montana

The Doggie Lama, Wingnut the Labrador, Waiting for her Walk, Helena, Montana

Wing Nut anxiously wines during the 5 minute drive to the trailhead, ready to bark at any walking dogs that we pass on the way. As soon as I open the hatch, she leaps from the trunk, racing to catch the new morning scents. She embodies pure freedom. I hurriedly get myself together, grab a Mutt Mitten, after all I am a responsible pet owner, and scurry up the hill after her.

Wing Nut is a very lucky dog living in such a wonderful place that enables dogs to run free on city trails. I imagine her enjoyment of walks would be diminished if she was sentenced to a leash. As for me, I know I wouldn’t enjoy an 80 pound force of muscle yanking my arm every morning.

She is as excited today as she was yesterday to run the same exact trail. I marvel at the way she can be at a full out gallop and then suddenly stop to smell the fragrance in the air. There is nothing else but the moment. She doesn’t have thoughts of what she is going to do at work today, or what she is going to wear, or formulating lists of things to get at the grocery store. For her, it is only pure instinct. If she sees a squirrel, she chases it. There is no internal battle of should I or shouldn’t I. It is oh hell, yeah, I’m chasing that squirrel!

The Doggie Lama

The Doggie Lama, Wing Nut the Labrador, Posing for a Picture, Mount Ascension, Helena, Montana

The Doggie Lama Posing for a Picture, Mount Ascension, Helena, Montana

I often call Wing Nut my spiritual leader, my Doggie Lama and a perfect example of pure Vitality. My morning ritual is more than just walking the dog and getting my heart rate pumping. It is about that same freedom that Wing Nut enjoys, the freedom to move, to explore, and a system restore for my hyper-active mind.

During my morning ritual, the excessive chatter ceases, and deliberate, organized thoughts emerge. I take many deep breaths and follow my Doggie Lama down a path that she knows very well.

It is arguable who needs the morning ritual more. I guess Wing Nut and I aren’t that much different. We are both highly energized individuals looking for freedom to just be. Her freedom is dependent on me getting up in the morning. My freedom is dependent on my ability to free myself from my thoughts and my societal leash. I let Wing Nut off the leash every morning and I am hoping to learn how to do the same for myself.

Ah, to be a Labrador Retriever….What freedom that would be!

Who is your Doggie Lama? Tell me about him/her in the comments below.

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About Melissa Schaar

I am a scientist, teacher, student, friend, and mom. I am on a journey to my ultimate vitality. That journey includes living to the fullest, loving everyday, laughing whenever possible, and a constant state of learning.

1 comment on “Morning Ritual with the Doggie Lama

  1. I loved every bit of reading this! pets are so good for the soul, and great motivation to me ypu young and moving! My puppy is 14 weeks old today, but hes too young for me to start taking him on long runs…i can’t wait to explore the trails with him soon enough, and with you and the nut job!

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