I'm exhausted!

The beauty of my local lake draws me back each morning for my one-hour walk. If you have to exercise, where else could you enjoy the surroundings more? The walk gets my day started on a happy and peaceful note. But besides tranquility, health benefits, and the scenery, the lake has another draw for me. I get to see all the cute canines my community has to offer. Here's my list of some of the most interesting personalities.

Like Paris Hilton, this blond is famous for just being famous. A previous photo and mention in the local news made Sparky a star. Always friendly, tail-a-wagging, Sparky knows everyone and everyone knows Sparky, the dog with a name that suits its bubbling personality.

His toy is a pine cone. He keeps it clenched in his teeth for his two or three laps around the lake. When you look at his furry tan upper lip draped across the scratchy cone, you can't help but wonder if it hurts him. His special talent is that he can bark at people and other dogs without losing his grip on the pine cone.

This guy keeps in perfect step with his owner. But as he walks, he's looking back at where he's been, like he missed something. Squirrel???

This beautiful Golden Retriever trots along looking up at his owner the entire time. Does he fear something will happen to her if he doesn't keep his eyes on her? Did something happen in the past when he looked away?

Every now and then, this dog's walk is interrupted when he drops to his belly for a nap, all four paws stretched across the pavement. In spite of his owners leash yanking, he doesn't move or respond. If he could talk, I'm sure he'd say, "That's it. I've had it. I'm not taking another step. I'm exhausted."

This guy wants nothing to do with his owner. She walks, leash in hand on one side of the path, he walks on the other, the leash strung taught across the walkway. Is this his deliberate way of fashioning a trip wire to topple roller-bladders?

It's all in the eyes. His sad brown peepers are framed by long, white, bushy eyebrows. Nothing ruffles him, not barking dogs, not skaters whizzing by. His head doesn't even turn. He's aged and wise and although he may glance at you, it's only for a moment. That's all he can muster. You just know he had a knish for breakfast.

This one is so low to the ground he seems to glide, like a mop, his long streaked fur sweeping up twigs and dead leaves as he goes. His owner power walks, so this little guy's paws, hidden under that skirt of fur, must be a blur of movement.

This pooch dons a black Kevlar vest like Jack Bauer on the 24 TV series. The leash is attached to the middle of the vest rather than a collar. Like Jack, he's agile and light on his feet. At times, a yank from the leash lifts his compact body vertically from the pavement and he looks like an aerialist, hovering momentarily over the walkway.

This dog is confused. His owner holds the leash that is clearly attached to the dog's collar. But the dog insists on holding the slack in the leash between his teeth. Now and then, he gives the leash a yank, knocking the owner off balance. I guess no one has explained the leash concept to him.

To all dog owners who parade their pets at the lake each morning, thank you for the hours of entertainment you provide!