Sam and I took a long break from this space to pull together the former entries of this once weekly blog, rework them, shape them, so that Walks With Sam could become a book. And I am proud to say that will happen in late 2020. More from my publisher in coming posts.
There are many dog-themed books in the world. So many good ones. What makes Walks With Sam unique? This is a book of experience, one walk at a time, a study in mindfulness, a book about awakening to the present. Readers of early drafts have called it “sort of spiritual.” Maybe? Some might say the book is more about mindfulness than a purely personal story, like memoir. But I’ll let you be the judge of that. It’s not my place to determine your take on it. That’s your call. But what I do know is that Sam is the real star here. Not me. Although the walks are the vehicle, something many contemplative souls have used to help awaken themselves to the present—Beethoven, Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, William Wordsworth, Mark Twain—Sam is still the four-legged sherpa that leads the way.
The idea of Walks With Sam began many years ago. I kept notes on my phone from time to time of occasional walks with Mike, a previous dog with so much heart and love to share. The journaling was never formal or regular. But the idea was taking shape. When Sam came into my world, it was time to get back to those walks. But this time, I was older and more ready for what Sam might help me see. I was newly married, in a new home, in a new neighborhood. I wanted to see what Sam could show me, and it was far more than I could have ever imagined.
The blog posts came on a request from a family member after telling them about my walks. So, out of pure fun, I began to offer my observations. When that summer ended, the regular walks became less frequent and the blog ended. But the idea stayed. After shaping and redrafting those entries, adding other walks remembered from notes I had taken and had not originally been part of the blog, Walks With Sam became a manuscript. Many drafts later, and several publishers considering it, the manuscript found its home.
I believe this book is every dog owner’s book. The observations I experienced are ultimately yours, just as much as they are mine.. I know you, too, have seen what I’ve seen, felt what I have felt. I know your dog has opened your eyes, too. It’s a matter of realizing this and knowing when it’s happening. That’s what Sam taught me.
But, let’s be truly honest, Sam has not transformed my life. No hyperbole here. She’s a great dog and I love her with everything I have. At the same time, however, I am blessed to say that my life has been a pretty good one, still is, even with all the ups and downs of living. Dogs have been wonderful additions to a full life. But what Sam has done, something every dog does for its owner on some level, is be a true friend. And a good friend helps you see. I’m certain I would have missed something quite valuable without her.
I’ll be posting here regularly about the coming book, Walks With Sam. And from time to time, adding some thoughts on new and recent walks we have shared.
I am grateful for every dog owner and walker who has combined the two and knows exactly what I’m talking about. I would love for you to come along on my walks with Sam. I believe we can see a lot together.