Used to.

I used to wonder what the non-dog beach was like– I imagined the water was an even brighter turquoise, the sand was softer, there were no bugs and certainly no dog poop left by irresponsible humans.
…today I learned it’s not so great. It’s rocky and of course the water is the same and it’s full of only people.

I used to get so tired of saying “Pal, no barking!!” Often I wondered if my squawking was worse for the neighbors than the barking.
…now it’s a deafening silence and I can’t crank my phone volume loudly enough to drown it out.

I used to say, “come on Pal, we’re on a walk, not a roll” as he took his sweet time rolling on his back, charming every passerby, savoring every smell.
…now I miss how he forced me to slow down, notice the texture of the soft leaves, the shapes of the clouds, the neighbors.

I used to feel a twinge of inconvenience leaving the party early or saying no because it would be too long of a lonely day for Pal.
…turns out home with him was exactly where I wanted to be.

I never used to think Pal and I had a song because that’s ridiculous.
…seems we had at least 8 that I heard yesterday.

I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t go on a walk and get any alone time because people flocked to him.
…now I walk and no one asks, “Who’s walking who? Where’s the saddle? What kind of dog is he?!” Kinda lame.

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