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Experiencing Otto’s joy and energy on these walks makes my Parkinson’s more bearable

“Otto can be asleep anywhere in the house and, if I say, ‘Otto, walk?’ at any volume, he’ll come running to the laundry room where we always leave for our walks. Otto patiently waits as I go through my mental checklist. Leash clipped on, check. Waste bags, check. Hair presentable so I don’t scare the neighbors, check. Then off we go.

Otto walks along like our neighborhood is his little kingdom. He’s happy with any walk, but it’s a great walk if he gets to see people. Once he’s spotted someone, Otto just wants to play with them. He’ll start whining, expressing how much he wants to meet them. Because we live in a golf community we frequently encounter people on golf carts. Once we get permission to approach Otto starts his three step greeting:

Step 1: Jump on the floor of the golf cart

Step 2: Receives lots of pets

Step 3: Jump on the seat and plant a big kiss on the person

After his three steps are completed, he waits patiently for me to finish my conversation.

It always amazes me how quickly people pick up on Otto’s personality. Within thirty seconds, they’ll make comments about what a happy dog he is. Experiencing Otto’s joy and energy on these walks makes my Parkinson’s more bearable. As we’re walking, I find joy in someone else. It takes my mind off myself. It reminds me not to worry, to stop and enjoy the moment.”

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