Duncan plays many roles in my life, from best friend to therapist, teacher to pillow, but it's important to let him be a dog, too, which is what he is first and foremost. So on walks like the one we took this afternoon, when he doesn't want to walk next to––or near me even––when he ambles off in his own direction and won't come when called, won't even acknowledge he's heard my voice, I'm reminded that sometimes he has nothing to show me, nowhere to lead me, no crucial bit of wisdom to impart, no comfort to offer. Sometimes he just wants to pee on every tree, rock, or stray backpack set aside by some bearded, shirtless dude playing football with his buddies. Sometimes he could care less what I'm doing because he just needs to do what dogs do in the wide open spaces on a sunny spring day. And while it can be frustrating and often embarrassing ("I am so sorry about your shirt. I'll pay for the dry-cleaning. Here's my number. Let me know how much it costs."), it's also a good thing, because sometimes the lesson is that we should always be what we really are.