Good Monday morning, Dogsters! Today we have an insightful guest post by Daniela Caride, my talented blog pal over yon at The Daily Tail. It’s about something many of us don’t look forward to, but she puts it in a beautiful perspective.
Dogsters, when you’re done reading her entry, please share your experiences about the whole slowing down process. Let us know what you’ve learned, how you and your dog have fared. We can all benefit from each other’s observations and wisdom.
When Our Dogs Slow Down
By Daniela Caride
Some people become addicted to jogging or working out at the gym. Im addicted to walking my three dogs, Berners Frieda and Geppetto, and Lola the Saint Bernard. We mean business every day, rushing side by side around the parks 2-mile trail. The dogs are still young (5, 4 and 3 years old), and they love to exercise with me, as I do with them.
Then I had to slow down because of a painful bunion that was getting worse and worse. On top of walking my dogs less than half as far, I had to use a cane, which frustrated the hell out of me. Frieda, Geppetto and Lola, on the other hand, didnt seem to mind. They romped and played, waiting for me to drag myself along. I thought, well, at least theyre getting exercise, lapping around me like puppies.
A month ago, I had the bunion surgery that I had postponed for years, dreading the hassle it would be for my dogs. For the time being, I can only get around on crutches or with a knee walker a four-wheeled bike with a support for the knee instead of the butt. Its a great gadget, but its too unstable on uneven terrain. With a leg cast that I cannot put pressure on, I get tired and sore after going even a few feet.
To my surprise, my three big dogs have kept on romping happily wherever I take them, even a quick stop at a nearby fenced-in doggie park. I thought they would become irritable, bark like crazy and maybe even chew on stuff at home. But even without me to play with, they keep in shape playing with each other.
The routine we came up with is far from ideal, but it doesnt seem to be as bad as I thought it would be. As I walk now, I keep one eye on the dogs and another on the trail. (I cant afford to take a fall!) And Ive discovered so many wonderful little things during the past few weeks. Ive finally seen the owl in the hole high up in a tree. I saw a woodpecker feeding her babies in the nest. And Ive been taking the time to admire the goldenrod, Queen Annes lace and other wild flowers along the path.
Its funny. Ever since I got Frieda, I dreaded the day Id see my dogs slow down. They so enjoy romping in the tall grass and chasing each other. I always feared the coming of old age as the time to gradually stop doing everything we love until all is gone.
Now I see my worries are all inside my head. Time goes fast when life is good, and dogs do age so quickly. But when Frieda, Geppetto and Lola get too old to fly across the fields, a different but beautiful world will be awaiting them, full of critters and flowers and smells I cannot even imagine. Ive seen a bit of it lately, and it will be so much fun to explore it alongside three big old happy dogs.
Daniela Caride is a journalist with almost 20 years of experience who shares her life with 3 dogs, 4 cats and her husband. She runs The Daily Tail (www.TheDailyTail.com) and freelances for other media outlets, such as Boston.com (www.Boston.com), The Bay State Banner (www.baystatebanner.com) and various blogs. She also volunteers for an organization that helps low-income people keep their pets in times of hardship, called Phinneys Friends (www.phinneysfriends.org).