Getting Out and About

I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday, and, as is my wont, complained about the weather.  “It’s too cold to walk the dog, even,” I whined, then shut right up at the look she gave me.  She’s training for a half-marathon, and prior to our lunch had run 6.5 km (about 4 miles) and walked another 6.5.  The wind whipped and the snow came down, but she ran, and her two dogs ran with her.  I picked the wrong person to complain to.

I have to walk the dog more.  Not just for him, but for me as well.  I was diagnosed a few years ago with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis, and I know walking is the best way to add bone density to the hips. 

I did walk him to the park last Thursday and this past Monday, but the weather was decent both days.  In spite of being born in a city with a climate similar to Moscow (but worse), in my middle age I’ve come to loathe the cold.  It gets into my bones and makes me miserable.  Exercise is supposed to improve mood, not worsen it.

Still, it’s embarrassing to be such a wussy-pants, especially when your best friend runs marathons.  So I compromised.  Today I took Our Best Friend to the park, but I drove there.  Once there, I walked back and forth at the north end of the park, on an east-west path.  I faced south the entire time; the one time I went a bit south and turned back north, my glasses got frostbite. 

And I’m not the only wussy-pants, I guess.  There were only five people there, including me.  Three came with big, husky dogs, like OBF, but one was a woman who has a very cute Scottish terrier.  We are nodding and smiling acquaintances, but a language barrier prevents much communication.  I watched in amazement as she marched resolutely the whole circuit of the park, wind in her face and all, and the little terrier marched right along at her heels.  They do get snow in the Scottish Highlands, so I guess the breed is hardier than it looks, and he had a lovely little red jacket on.  Still, he didn’t have booties and he’s so small, I got colder just watching him.

Our Best Friend had a wonderful time.  And I see his social skills improve day by day.  For his sake (and my bone’s sake) I’ll endure it as best I can.  But forgive me if I still whimper, “When is it spring again?”

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About one person's view

I'm the mother of three girls, three cats, and a dog. All need constant attention, but only the dog likes to go for long walks!
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10 Responses to Getting Out and About

  1. Well, can’t say I am much braver than you! Have been wanting to get out and walk with my baby in the stroller but chicken out every time! My kids seem immune as they don ice skates and hit the outdoor rinks for hours…. Anyway, the days are getting longer and longer 🙂

  2. thatjenk says:

    There’s a rule in our house: the dog gets walked an hour a day – regardless.

    Being a Newf, he can handle -30°C for an hour without blinking, and frankly he prefers the cold and snow, so we have no excuse. We bundle up and head out. In almost three years, I can honestly say, he’s never missed a day (aside from a few days of vet-imposed light duty exercise, post-surgery) .

    The rare time we do call it short (like 45 minutes, because I’m cold), we make up the extra time with patience training or games like hide and seek in the house.

    I like our imposed mandatory regime – it guarantees daily time with him, keeps us honest and accountable, and forces us to get out more. It makes all of us healthier. And some of my favourite walks have been in the blistering cold, when it’s calm and quiet and no one else is out there, and it’s just the two of us and our tracks in the snow.

    So keep at it! This was good to read!

    • You humble me. 🙂 Bet I out-weigh you too.

      I’m the only dog-walker in our family, and if I don’t have the time (or energy) it doesn’t happen. I think I better buy the poor dog a treadmill!

  3. BM says:

    Good for you to walk YBF. Great reading. Keep up the good work.

  4. We have very mild winters in South Texas, so I can only imagine what it’d be like in the bitter cold. Gus is a well behaved dog (we’re obvs a bit bias) and we believe it’s directly linked to the amount of exercise he gets.

    I agree with thatjenk…if the weather (100+ temps in the summer) prevent us from being outside, a great game of hide and seek is a fabulous way to tucker Gus out. Plus, it’s pretty for us too 😉

    • thatjenk says:

      Woah. Weather TOO HOT to walk a dog in? Fascinating…

      I mean, even when we get +30°C (86°F), which is rare and only a handful of days every summer, all you have to do here is wait for the sun to go down or plan for really early morning walks.

      Very interesting!

      I also agree wholly with the exercise/behaviour connection; there’s a direct correlation.

      • It actually gets that hot here in the summer too; last summer we had humidexes over 40 (that’s 104 to our American friends). We walked at 8:00 in the morning (it was over 30 at that point, but doable), in the evening, or not at all.

        As for the behaviour connection, I’ve noticed that too: Here (Guilt), and here (More Guilt). 😦

  5. Pingback: The Good Behaviour-Exercise Canine Correlation « Back Alley Soapbox

  6. Kristine says:

    It can be hard to drag myself outside in the midst of a blizzard but knowing my dog will eat my house if I don’t is pretty good motivation. 😉

    Great post! One of the main reasons dogs are turned into shelters is due to behaviour problems, many that could be worked on with a little bit of exercise. I think it is vital to spread the word.

    • OBF almost ended up in a shelter many times in his first six months… more of that story in posts about “The Winding Path to Dog Ownership.” No question he is a different dog when he’s all tuckered out!

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