Sunday, February 8, 2009


I found it! I found it! The dark days of worry are over......I can exercise the dog even if I can't walk!

With sadness, anger, and reluctance I've finally come to accept that I may never have the same level of activity that I once enjoyed. My knees will likely never withstand running again and even a race walk with the dog isn't something they will tolerate on a daily basis. Giving up jogging is, well, in the words of my son, 'JUST NOT FAIR!' The endorphin junkie that I am, I have come to rely on jogging and TKD to lift my spirits and brighten my outlook, while helping me to thwart the evil ravages of Father TIme. Alas, I now have to find another way to beat Him and to feed my endorphin habit - but the nagging, aching fear most eating me remains how I can exercise and bond with my dog (and someday another dog) if I can't even WALK him. I can't imagine another forty or fifty years without a canine buddy to share and play with. I'm just not a tiny, couch potato dog person, so a chihuahua or some such dog just won't do - besides, what about Rusty? He is too high energy to sit around all day. So how could I possibly, in good conscience, be a responsible dog owner if I can't run or walk my dog?

Earlier this week I tried to ride my daughter's scooter to exercise Rusty and that worked a bit, but I'm not much of a scooter rider. Put it this way, my bum couldn't take it! My hat is off to skate boarders cuz it ain't as easy as it looks. So, scratch the scooter. Next, I considered skating. Skating is good exercise, utilizes lots of leg muscles, and is easy to do right out of your driveway. My daughter outgrew her skates long ago, but I kept the ones in my size (never mind that they say Brittany Spears), so I have the gear. I remember many skating parties in my youth and I'm in top shape, if you disregard my knees, so it should be no problem, right?? Ha! I got as far as the neighbor's driveway before I realized that not only would Rusty not get any exercise while I was skating - that would require me to go faster than the speed of a turtle - but I'd likely break some other bone or joint to go along with my screwed up knees.

Damn! What now? My son's BMX was closest to the garage door, so I whipped it out in a last ditch effort. Last ditch, you see, because Rusty is known for his mistrust of bicycles. When we first got him he'd bark like a mad dog whenever the mountain bikers would pass us on the trail. As a herding dog, his instincts press him to round up those miscreant wheels that are turning and whirling away from the fold. His drive to herd moving wheels of any kind is so strong that I'll never let him off leash where there are moving cars or bicycles. So, could I get him to run along with me if I were on one of those misbehaving, nefarious bikes? Hmmmm......

Lucky for me Rusty can heel very well. We've done hours of heel training, using 'right' and 'left' commands to turn. In fact, he knows his directions better than I do. More than once, my dyslexia has taken over and I've called 'left' then turned right, only to feel Rusty turn left. He'll look over at me like, 'Dude! Your OTHER left! Sheesh!' Knowing he was proficient with his directions, I felt a little more comfortable; maybe I wouldn't run him over.

When Rusty runs, he likes to grab the leash in his mouth. He'll walk and heel properly at my command, but when we run, we run together, his mouth holding my leash as much as my hand is holding his. So, I began slowly on my son's bike, my knees nearly hitting my ears as I carefully peddled down the middle of the street with Rusty on my right. After a few irritated barks -'What are you DOING? Get off of that thing!' - he grabbed his leash and we picked up the speed. Only two or three times did I have to slow and remind him to stay to the side and not nip at the sheep with wheels that I was riding. I rode and he ran, smiling as only a dog can smile, with tongue hanging out and eyes sparkling.

This afternoon we tried it again, but this time I had the sense to ride my oldest daughter's bike - a mountain bike made for an adult - so the range of motion required of my knees was much easier to endure. Rusty did perfectly and seemed happy doing it! What a tremendous relief!

Now, I just need to use a little ingenuity to create a new collection of cardio activities that I enjoy to replace those that I have lost for my own exercise. I guess if I can get Rusty to accept running with a bicycle I should be able to learn to swim more, or walk inclines, or even drag a sled to get the cardio I need. Maybe I'll even smile while I'm doing it. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Sounds like a great solution for Rusty. So, instead of entering half-marathons will you be signing up for a bike race soon? I so admire your determination and drive.


Modified by Blogger Tutorial

Stumbling Onward ©Template Nice Blue. Modified by Indian Monsters. Original created by