Archives for posts with tag: exercise

On Thursday, I lived a day as a dog owner.

Well, less than a day. And it wasn’t a complete experience — I didn’t have to wash him, feed him, or brush him — but still, I had a feel for what taking care of a dog was like.

My friend recently adopted a small dog, and she invited me out with her to walk her dog, Teddy. At first, I was a bit nervous about this, as I was slightly scared of dogs in general due to all those stories of them attacking people. Also, I’ve never had any friends who owned dogs until now, so I was unsure of how I should interact with dogs.

Thankfully, Teddy was very friendly. He excitedly licked me as soon as he saw me (I really had to make an effort to keep my face away from him), and was totally content in letting me walk him… Well, totally content in being able to walk me. I let Teddy set the pace for the walk, so I was walking behind him as he happily skipped ahead. I actually had to feel sorry towards my friend, who was walking behind us (she had to carry his water and food, so it wasn’t quite her fault for falling behind). But, thankfully, Teddy was conscious enough to turn around and check if my friend was still there, slowing down when necessary to wait for her to catch up. It was heartwarming to see that such a bond had already formed between them in the course of two weeks.

I came to the conclusion that dogwalking would be a satisfying and enjoyable workout (at least with Teddy, as he’s a ball of energy), if not for a few things:

  1. Teddy stops every ten minutes to make his mark (i.e. pee) somewhere. While I understand that this is a natural thing for him to do, it’s not particularly suitable for a good aerobic workout: I want to keep walking! Thankfully, the entire process doesn’t take too long.
  2. Teddy hates squirrels. At the mere sight of one, he barks and will probably try to climb up a tree to chase it. You have to coax and drag him away, or else you might as well be standing there for the next hour. I’m sure not all dogs are anti-squirrel though, so this wouldn’t be a factor with other dogs.
  3. Meeting other dog owners is a tricky business. It’s okay if the dogs are just interested in sniffing each other before going their separate ways, but sadly, a meeting can become quite aggresive. By the end of the walk, I found that I became apprehensive whenever we were approaching another dog, because who knows what kind of reactions we’ll have to deal with?

But those things aside, I wouldn’t mind walking Teddy again at all.

During my two hours as a “dog owner”, I also received a crash course in dog ownership when my friend got into a conversation with another dog owner we met at a park. Granted, it wasn’t terribly exciting dialogue, but the encounter was certainly entertaining, as their dogs were weaving around our legs, alternatively sniffing and avoiding each other.

As much as I wanted to keep playing with Teddy, I was glad that I actually wasn’t his owner. I found out — from walking him, watching my friend care for him, and the “crash course” — that dogs require a lot of attention and work to care for, especially since you’ll inevitably develop a tendency to spoil them.

But hey, I totally wouldn’t mind being a part-time dog walker. I think that would be awesomely fun.

Heart pumping, measured breaths, sweat dripping down my face, feet hitting the ground in rhythm…

It felt great to be running again. So good.

Last week, I stopped running completely, because my nose was doing the running for me — it dripped all day, forcing me to rub it a raw pink with tissue paper. My eyes also itched. My breathing felt constricted. I even felt feverish at one point. So I didn’t run at all.

I was afraid, today, of whether I would still be able to run well. Muscles will deteriorate over time if not used. And while I didn’t run as much as I used to (mainly because I told myself that I needed time to build up to where I was one week ago), I was still able to comfortably cover half the distance I usually do. And that was enough to lift my spirits for the day.

We all know too well the feelings of frustration, annoyance, and madness that ensue when we are unable to escape walking behind someone who is moving at a snail’s pace — it may be an elderly person, someone yapping on their phone, or even worse, a whole group of chatty teenagers who refuse to use their boundless energy to walk just a tiny bit faster.

So, when I saw a man walking his dog leisurely today, I wondered: Do dogs ever get annoyed at their owners for walking too slowly? Obviously, dogs are capable of moving much faster than we can, so wouldn’t our (“fast”) walking speed be considered a slow crawl to them? It might be the reason why some dogs are always straining at their leashes, appearing as though they would prefer to be anywhere else but inching along beside their owners.

I am not saying that we should let dogs run leash-free so that they can (1) travel at a pace they are comfortable with, and (2) actually be able to exercise during their daily outings; in fact, I’m utterly scared of leash-free parks, because some dogs can be pretty violent (and pretty sudden in their revelation of their aggression, too). Instead, perhaps owners could take their dogs out for a “walk” while riding a bike, rollerblading, or jogging. I realize this isn’t possible for everyone, but if it is, then both the owner and the dog will get a much better workout.

(It’s quite odd; I didn’t mean for this post to be about changing people’s dog-walking habits. I meant merely to ponder the thoughts of the slowly-walked dog. But anyways, if that suggestion ends up being beneficial to dog owners, then I’m happy that I actually did something useful today.)

Updates: Okay. SO. I ended up sticking this blog on WordPress.com after all. 000webhost was actually pretty good for a while — all plugins worked, themes could be customized, the servers were fast. It was all great, until I discovered that they frequently restarted their MySQL servers, which resulted in my blog displaying a large, ugly, Times-New-Roman “Error connecting to database” sign several times a day, sometimes for over half an hour at a time. While I understand that their hosting service is free, having a blog that goes offline unpredictably is intolerable. So, I moved to AwardSpace, thinking I could install a CAPTCHA system to replace the unusable Akismet plugin… However, I discovered that AwardSpace refused (for some very, very odd reason) to display the plugins page! Jeez. At that moment, I gave up and imported everything over. Everything, except my custom theme, of course. But since my modified header looks pretty good, I’m not going to complain.

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