Slater and I have a symbiotic relationship, we both love long walks and need them daily; he can't go out without someone guiding him, and I feel protected by him. Ironically, when I lived with my ex-boyfriend, I couldn't stand the dog - the sound of the long nails on his paws neurotically treading across the hardwood floors and his constant yapping (and pooping in the living room) had me reacting like The Scream by Edvard Munch. Instead, this Boarder Collie and Papillion mix is smart, friendly, fun, sweet and house trained! Every day I look forward to our quality time together - walking a three mile loop around the park during the day or an hour walk at night. Patiently, I wait while he sniffs and pees - on everything; I wonder how such a small bladder can have so much urine in it? Canine behavior is interesting, they smell each other's nose and crotch then go on their merry way - something I'm not used to, growing up with cats. Walking Slater is therapeutic, like a walking meditation: we peacefully meander in nature together, exploring and stopping whenever we want, no agenda; my mind clears and I am one with nature. I wish I could bring Slater with me wherever I go, like the theater, the museum, the beach, on the train, just like those people I see with their "emotional companions." I get it now.