How To Walk A Dog in 6 Easy Steps

To fund my climbing/travel habit, I walk dogs 5 days a week for a company called Out-U-GO! Check out the website, and tell them that Lauren from the Boulder office recommended you.

Out U Go!

Every morning I receive an email of my schedule, print it out, and away I go. I walk all sorts of dogs who live all over the city of Boulder. Some dogs are small, like the toothless tiny Chihuahua, and others are large, like the 180 lb Newfoundland. Some are models of excellent behavior, some absolutely adorable little puppies who, in their excitement, drizzle on my pants, and others thoughtfully spread the contents of the trash on the floor so every time I visit I have to clean up that day’s kitchen trash.

I’ve walked dogs in the sun, in the snow, in the rain, in the cold. We’ve gotten muddy, tried to chase squirrels (I’m not quite fast enough), and had lots of tummy rubs and treats. For the most part, it’s a pretty good deal– I get paid to go outside and play with dogs all day.

how to walk a dog

In case you’ve never walked a dog before, here’s how it’s done:

1. Find a dog to walk. I recommend going through legit channels, as in borrowing a friend’s dog (with their permission), or joining a dog-walking company. Don’t just “borrow” some stranger’s dog, not a good thing.

2. Put leash on dog. There are all sorts of weird harness contraptions, so make sure you know how it works. It’s a little embarrassing when you take the dog for a walk and end up coming across the owner, who has to show you how to correctly put their dog’s harness on.

walking a dog

3. Go outside.

4. Walk.

5. Let the dog pee on as many things as it deems necessary. This will vary by dog, but is on average 500 different things during a 25 minute walk. These things may include, but are not limited to: trash cans, trees, bushes, the sidewalk, bikes, parked motorcycles, fences, various bits of grass, snow piles, dirt piles, the dog poop bag station, picnic tables, rocks, car tires, garden walls, and any place another dog has peed. I know all the good pee spots within a three-block radius of my regular pups’ homes.

6. Pick up poop. Repeat as necessary.

Simple as that!

How to walk a dog in Boulder

This wall is a regular peeing hotspot, especially the corners.

Dog Pee Conversation Of The Day

Ahh, the perks of being a dog walker…  and having (the best) weird friends. 


“Ellie the puppy was real excited to see me… and drizzled on my pants.”

“Now that I know that’s ok, I’ll make sure to do the same the next time I’m excited to see you!”

“You’re not cute enough to get away with it like she is.”



Picture link 


Lauren Life Update

Currently, my life is like this:


The Flatirons, just a short walk up the street from the house!


I am now living in Boulder, Colorado, in the basement of my good friend’s family. In exchange for room and board, I help out around the house, drive the little sisters all over the greater Boulder area, and help take care of the dogs. My friend and his mom are currently in Antarctica,  so my nanny/dog walker/chauffeur/entertainment buddy/dish washer services should be in less demand once they return.


Max Wilderness

Max on a boat in Antarctica, looking chill.


Side note: To read about Max’s adventures, check out the blog on his photography website: Max Wilderness. He’s got some neat pictures up from his most recent adventures in Patagonia and Antarctica.





Boulder Colorado

Buddy, one of my furry charges. He’s not nearly as innocent as he looks.











When not driving Mikayla and Ashley to and from school and/or swimming lessons and/or doctor appointments/massages/yoga, I spend my days working on an online travel writing class, which is offered through MatadorU. They have a website full of many wonderfully written articles and pictures on all sorts of topics, from more traditional travel fare to pieces on social issues to food to interviews. There’s something for everyone there, and I have spent many an hour exploring the site when I meant to be working. Counts as research, right?

Check it out here: Matador Network

Matador Network

I am also now an editorial intern with Outdoor Minded Mag, an online magazine based here in Boulder. Or, I should say, that’s where Lauren (the editor) lives and works, so that’s where it’s based at the moment. She’s a very awesome person, and yesterday we spent hours holed up together in a coffee shop working on laying out some articles. It was a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to working with her. She recently skateboarded from Boulder to Denver, and wrote about it on the site (check it out through the link below). The website launched 6 months ago, so we’re still getting things put together, but I see the magazine heading in a great direction and I’m excited to be a part of it.

Check it out here: Outdoor Minded Mag

Outdoor Minded Mag


I’ve been climbing whenever I can, which isn’t quite as often as I would like. Wednesday I met up with a friend and we climbed for around 4 hours straight. My arms were so tired I could barely make it up a 5.8 by the end of the session. Climbing routes are rated by difficulty, the most difficult being a 5.15, the easiest being a 5.0. I usually climb 5.10’s, and some easier 11’s. 5.8’s are easy, beginner routes, that I normally do as warm-ups.

This site explains the rating system much better than I can:  Rock Climbing Ratings

Rock Climbing Utah

Climbing Castleton Tower in Utah, 2011. That’s Max’s foot, I’m climbing.

I’m hoping to break out my poor downhill skis, which have been languishing in the basement for the past two years, and ski on some real mountains, and in some real snow! Last time I skied was in Ohio, and I’m not sure that counts (and yes, there are places to ski in Ohio, I’ve been to three of the five “resorts”. Didn’t realize there were that many, I just looked it up). Although that one snowboarder who was in the Winter Olympics, Louie Vito, is from Ohio. Columbus, Ohio, which is about as flat as it gets.

I have a few leads for paying jobs, since climbing gym memberships, lift tickets, and gas are a bit pricey. I’ll keep you updated.

That’s all for now, folks!

Colorado Aspens

Aspens in the snow.

I prefer blonds in my bed

Most nights, I share my bed with two blond gentlemen named Jasper (after the national park in Canada, not Twilight) and Bogie (after Humphrey Bogart, not golf).

I’ve decided I like blonds because the hair doesn’t show as much on my light-colored counterpane.
Jasper (on the left) and Bogie, peacefully snoozing away.
After a brief discussion, they decided they too liked the word counterpane instead of bedspread, because it flows off the tongue nicely and sounds more romantic.
They, like many males, hog the space and the covers, snore, and thrash around in the middle of the night. They are primarily motivated by food and demand that I wake up early to feed them, because we need to eat RIGHT NOW.
Oh thank you, you’ve saved me a narrow sliver along the wall. How kind.
I admit, I’m weak, and I just can’t say no to faces like these. (And they’re both way more difficult to move than you’d think.)
They don’t seem to get that curling up at the end of the bed would be an excellent option for them, but not so much for me. Some of us have legs a few feet longer than others of us, and therefore appreciate a little more space…

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

I just got back from spending 13 days in the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area with my family. There will most likely be a series of blogs about this epic travel journey (and epic it was) once I go through all my pictures and videos, which may take days. I take a lot of pictures.

While you’re waiting breathlessly for my next post, read this book: Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog, by Ted Kerasote. It’s quite good. Excellent, really. I picked it up at a Goodwill somewhere, liking the picture on the cover (Merle the dog on a mountain top) and I’m glad I did. I’d even consider paying full price for this one, which is saying a lot since I buy most of my books from Goodwill for $1 or less.

Bogie is particularly enthralled with the book.

However, I would not recommend reading the ending on a plane, especially not while sitting between a middle-aged man and a just-barely-post-adolescent man, both strangers. I cried. Twice. Well, I did manage to keep in the body-heaving sobs, but my eyes definitely teared up. If this book doesn’t at least give your heart a wrench, you probably don’t have a soul. I don’t normally cry when I read– in fact, I can’t really think of any other time reading when I was tempted to (not even when J.K. Rowling offed Dumbledore- but I think I was in shock)– so that says something about the poignancy of the subject and the writing.

The book is set out West, primarily in Kelly, Wyoming (in the shadows of the Tetons, where we were on vacation). Basically, the book is about Ted and his dog, Merle, and their lives together, starting when Ted finds Merle in the Utah desert and ending with Merle’s death (hence the plane sobbing). The book not only follows the relationship of Ted and Merle, but also delves into the relationships between people and dogs, where they originated, and how those relationships have evolved since then. Excellent writing, excellent subject, excellent book.

Our pets have it rough in the Smith household.

From the prologue:
“This is the story of one dog, my dog, Merle. It’s also the story of every dog who must live in an increasingly urbanized world, and how these dogs might lead happier lives if we changed some of our behavior rather than always trying to change theirs.
…[W]hat he taught me about living with a dog can be applied anywhere. His lessons weren’t so much about giving dogs physical doors to the outside world, although that’s important, but about providing ones that open onto the mental and emotional terrain that will develop a dog’s potential. His lessons weren’t about training, but about partnership. They were never about method; they were about attitude.And at the heart of this attitude is a person’s willingness to loosen a dog’s leash– in all aspects of its life– and, whenever practical, to take off its leash completely, allowing the dog to learn on its own, following its nose and running free.”

Ted Kerasote’s website, with information about this book and his others, including newer books about his dog after Merle:

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog, by Ted Kerasote.
c. 2007 by Harcourt, Inc.