Old Age

I’m taking an independent workout class for PE this quarter. I’ve tried walking by myself and doing free weights, and various and sundry things, but nothing was quite getting my heart rate to where it’s supposed to be for the workouts to be effective.

The last time I did anything that really wore me out was the last time I walked my dog. I haven’t taken him for walks in a very long time because he hasn’t wanted to go very far because of his arthritis. Still, I had to do something and we’ve been giving him glucosamine and chondroitin to help boost his joints and help stop any further arthritic deterioration. So tonight, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Tonight, my old lab made it all the way to the top of our hill and back down in the required 20 minutes that I’m supposed to be out doing things. By the time we got back, I was sweaty and exhausted and so was my old man, but he was so happy. He remembered all of the walking rules, in spite of the fact that it’s been at least three years since we’ve been out for a walk. He left things when I told him to, he waited to cross the street until I said to go, he even helped me get up a slippery slope in the snow. When we got to the top of the hill and I turned around to go back down, he looked at me and wagged his tail before trying to pull me in the opposite direction. He wanted to walk some more.

On the way back down the hill, I talked to him cheerfully and he kept his nose right next to my hand, walking in a perfect heel that I thought was lost in the past.

When I got home from class and organized the rest of my day in my head, I thought that the fact that I bowled the best game of my life today, a 77, was going to be the high point of my day. Boy was I wrong. Even though I’m older and my dog is older, he reminded me of the joys of pet ownership and that I’ve been spending far too much time thinking of him as old and tired. He’s not tired, and with the way he acted tonight, he’s certainly not old.

That 20 minutes, was the best 20 minutes of my whole day. I’m so glad that we did it. I don’t think I would have made it as far without the encouragement of my best friend. I definitely wouldn’t have made it up that slope if he hadn’t dug his feet into the snow and pulled the lead tight to keep me from falling. You may think that I’m personifying him a bit, but I’m not. Before we hit that part of the walk, the leash was slack, and after we left that part of the walk, the leash was slack again. He knew what he was doing.

Now, I just feel incredibly lucky and very loved. That’s what dog ownership is all about.