My dog is fat. Or maybe chunky. Or burly. Anyway you look at it, she is a little heftier than she should be, and no girl likes any of those adjectives describing her.
Don’t misunderstand me; she’s not grossly overweight. She doesn’t waddle when she walks, and her belly doesn’t touch the ground or anything. And we most definitely do not feed her people food (unless we run out of dog food and forget to get more and then give her leftover fish or hot dogs or something. Not that that ever happens).
But she has gotten heavier over the last year or two, probably coinciding with the fact that she has gotten older. She’s about 12 now, and a few years past her prime as far as doggie fitness goes. In her day, she was quite the athlete, hiking, camping and frisbeeing her way around western New York. Before we had our kids, we took her everywhere with us. She went on 12 mile hikes in the Catskills, and swims in the local pond, and she even accompanied Mike on his first (and last?) marathon training runs. She was a specimen.
I don’t really have any pictures that adequately portray her current portliness (she doesn’t like having her picture taken when she feels unattractive), but take my word for it, she needs a workout or two. We’ve already cut her food back enough that she is constantly pissed off about it, so that’s not an option. So I’ve decided she needs to get some more exercise.
It used to be easy to keep her active. She was young and strong and she could just go along with us on our runs, hikes or whatever. But as she has gotten older, she has developed a host of aches and pains, and she just can’t do it anymore. And the other issue is that she doesn’t play well with others (dogs that is), and there seem to be a lot of folks who think that because their dog isn’t aggressive, it doesn’t need to be on a leash. Well my dog is, so when your dog comes running up, look out! Because I’m not a fan of breaking up dog fights, I’ve been hesitant to take her on many walks around the neighborhood.
For some reason, this week I decided to be brave. I decided she needed some love too, and if a cute fuzzy dog or two got trounced in the process, well, so be it. Just kidding. So far there are no casualties.
A few photos to show you how Morgan feels about the situation:
“We’re going where, mommy?”
“Wow, this is great!”
“Not used to all this walking. Need a rest. Aaahhh, this feels nice.”
Four days of walks, and she is a happy, happy dog. It’s taken a few tries to find the right distance; as Graham reminded me the other night, “Be nice to her mommy. She is old, old, old, old.” But I think we’ve got a good 15 minute route figured out, and I those pounds should melt off in no time.
The unexpected bonus has been for me. I am really enjoying the time with her, and the quick walk break after the kids go to school is a great way for me to get outside and soak in the world a bit. Plus, I am shocked at how making her so obviously happy, rubs off on me. It really does feel great to do something nice for someone else, even if that “someone” is a dog. In fact, her pure enjoyment might be what makes it so sweet.
Btw, if you love dogs and you love books, here is one you must read. Let me know if you’ve read it, or if you do read it. I think it’s amazing.