I still slow my pace or even stop at the places the dog liked to stop to smell.
He has been gone for more than a month and didn't really walk with me in his last year because of his hips, but I still hear him around the house or rustling as I get ready for the morning walk.
Of course this is just some hard wired neural connections, just like he had. As I pull on my boots my brain expects him to be standing expectantly by the door. As I pass by the garage shelf I fell my arm reaching to where his leash used to rest.
Sousa and I walked our "loop" hundreds of times. I still get up and walk the loop. I need to breath in the fresh air and see how our neighborhood has changed during the night. Today the ice is pulling back from the middle of the road towards the curb. Patches of grasses are pushing through the melting snow. A fine fog is blowing through the amber of the street lights. He would have smelled all the dogs that had passed since his last patrol and alerted me with a snuffle of his lips as he gulped in the scent filled air.
Until tomorrow and another morning walk.