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Mar 30, 2020

Staying close to home to exercise is one of the mandates that we have to follow to combat Covid-19. I see people biking, jogging, and walking, trying to de-stress, and stay healthy. For the most part, they are sticking to(1) social distancing (staying at least 6ft apart). I have also noticed that everybody who has dogs, seems to be walking them. Those dogs have probably never been walked as much in their lives as they are now! I took Rosie, our 11 year old boarder terrier, for a walk yesterday, up the hill, around the cemetery, and back home. She is old, so I walked slowly, and let her sniff and pee wherever she wanted to. "Well, I don't have to rush home for any reason," I thought to myself. I have practically no work, everyone at home can cook for themselves, and there are obviously no plans to go out anywhere, so I decided to let Rosie dictate the walk: how slow it would be, and every direction or change of direction. Well, that is easier said than done(2)! The first thing she wanted to do was to stand in the middle of the road and sniff the air. That was fine until a car came, and I had to pull her against her will, to the side of the road. Then she found a patch of grass and decided to spend the next 15 minutes eating it. "Oh come on Rosie!" I complained after 10 minutes, "I'm getting cold!" She's deaf, as it happens, so there was no point me saying anything. She just looked up at me and continued to munch on the grass. She was so happy. Finally she started to walk up the road and to head in the direction we usually take: the cemetery. She knows the routine. She stopped, sniffed, and peed on every corner. Finally, we started to walk at a decent pace, and I warmed up. But then, she put the breaks on; her little legs and grey body came to a definite halt. She decided to go in the opposite direction. "Ok," I said. "You lead the way; I'm just along for the ride(3)." So, I adjusted my pace to Rosie's, and everything that she did gave me a chance to observe something I hadn't noticed before: a knot on a tree, a carving of a flower on a gravestone, a blue jay looking down at me from up high in a pine tree. Rosie was relaxed, and finally I was. As we walked home, she still dithered about, but it didn't bother me at all because I had given up control. She walked painfully slowly across a busy road, so a kind woman in a car stopped to let us cross. She smiled and waved; she could tell that I was being lead by an old lady. We continued down the road and turned into our neighborhood. Normally by now Rosie is panting and looking exhausted, but she wasn't. She was definitely ready for a rest, but she hadn't been rushed or pushed, she had done exactly what she had wanted to do. And as it turns out, it was the best experience of walking a dog that I have had; the old, grey, lady had taken me for a walk, a proper one.

1. 'To stick to something' this idiom is often used in the gerund to express the idea that a person is committed to an action, a thought, or a perspective.

a. The story I told you is the same one I told the police, and I'm sticking to it.

b. They decided on their plan of action, and they're sticking to it.

2. 'That's easier said than done' is another useful phrase that is common, but quite self explanatory. 

a. During the stay-at-home mandate I decided to learn how to do a headstand. That's easier said than done!

b. We decided to save money by giving our dog a hair cut instead of taking her to the pet boutique. That was easier said than done! She looks terrible now!

3. 'To be along for the ride' is an idiom that means a person is taking part in an activity or event just because it is convenient for him to be there, and he is mainly an observer. This person is passively involved.

a. You can order whatever the rest of you are having for me; I'm just along for the ride.

b. "What's the name of the next dance troupe in the show?"

     "I have no idea. I'm just along for the ride."