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  • Writer's pictureMarty Jalove

A gift from Jack

Between the Apple Watch screaming at me to complete my circles and the fear of putting on any more quarantine weight, I started walking Jack the Dog, again.

Jack is a Border Collie mix, which means that he is the smartest and most active member of the household and he desires the most attention.

I used to walk Jack all of the time; sometimes 3 times per day. But life got in the way. And 3 walks quickly turned into 1 walk and then turned into no walks. You know how it is, an 8-hour workday quickly turns into a 12-hour workday, then just as quick, becomes a 14-hour workday. Every evening, I’d ask myself, “Where did the day go?”

So, Jack and I got into a routine. Up at 6:30 am, brush my teeth, throw water on my face, make coffee, grab an apple, and out the door by 7:00 am. We walked the same route every morning and we were usually back home before 8:00 am.

We nodded “hello” to the same people, barked at the same rabbits and squirrels, sang off-key to the same music, day after day. It was a happy little routine that I thought only rain could spoil.

But one morning Jack started whining at my bedroom door 15 minutes early. I got up, a little sleepy, brushed my teeth, threw water on my face, made coffee, grabbed an apple, and we were out the door by 6:45 am.

This continued for a few days. I guessed we were in a new routine.

But then it happened again.

Jack started whining at my bedroom door at 6:00 am. I threw my pillow at him but missed.

So, I got up, I brushed my face, threw water on the floor, forgot to put grounds in the coffee maker, and realized we were out of apples.

Jack’s new routine of getting up 15 minutes earlier happened a few more times and he finally settled in at waking me up at 5:30 every morning. We are out the door by 6:00 am and back home before 7:00 am.

The first few times were filled with frustration and a little anger. I found myself growling at him and not singing as much as we nodded “Hello” to different people and barked at different rabbits and squirrels.

Then it dawned on me (pun intended). I was home by 7:00 am instead of 8:00 am.

Jack gave me an extra hour.


That’s 7 extra hours each week! That’s 365 extra hours in a year!

How many times have we asked ourselves, “What would I do, what could I do…if I had an extra hour every day?”

Would you start painting again? Would you start reading that book? Would you write a story about your dog? Would you get out and enjoy the day? What would you do with this gift?

As I sit in front of my mac typing these words, with Jack sound asleep at my feet, I realize that it’s not so much about getting that extra hour each day. It’s more about how we use the 24 hours that we already have each day.

Jack has helped me learn to take a closer look at how I spend my time. I put a stronger emphasis on using that time to accomplish things, discover things, and find my own paths of happiness.

The new people that Jack and I have met, in the morning, are starting to get used to my singing. I toss slices of apple to the rabbits and squirrels. And sometimes I take my coffee with us, so we can get out a few minutes earlier.

If you want an extra hour every day, first look at the 24 that you already have, or get a dog. Walking Jack every morning is a great way to gain an hour and spend an hour.

Tomorrow, I may wake him up early.

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