Where I resolve to be a better dog owner by landing face-first in mulch
I have two dogs. These are old, crotchety dogs who are set in their ways. And, they’re about as different, personality-wise, as can be.
Hobbes had Duffy before I met her. He’s a Cairn Terrier stowaway from Texas. He likes warm. He likes quiet. If you’re good with math, the transitive property will tell you he loves my kids when they’re asleep, because he steals all of their warms.
Hobbes does not like winter. Winter is cold. Winter is snowy and rainy and wet and yucky.
More than anything, though, Hobbes likes his walk, especially first thing in the morning. He checks his pee-mail, he gets to explore. He gets an excuse to cuddle up for the rest of the morning. Winter and walks, however, don’t always agree — especially with his absolute hatred of the cold. There are mornings that are too cold for Hobbes. And, considering that Hobbes is a dog that, flying in the face of stereotypical dog behavior, only eats when he’s hungry, mornings, lately, have included me sleeping in, cuddled up with this blonde ball of grump. Hobbes will only be roused, in the morning, by the promise of a walk or an empty bed.
Snickelfritz, on the other hand, is a slightly younger, yet still-elderly, border terrier. He likes to play. He likes to bark. He likes a little bit of chaos. Perhaps more than Hobbes likes his walks, Snick loves his food. Once he determines that it’s time to wake, any rousing on the bed means “it’s breakfast time,” and he’ll whine. And Snick has this whine that feels like it should only be audible to other dogs1, but it’s perfectly hearable by Duffy and me. And it’s annoying. It’s so annoying that I’ll get out of bed and pour food in his bowl just to make it stop.
And then I’ll head back to bed and resume cuddling with the grumpy dog who has no interest in eating breakfast because he’s not getting out of bed unless you’re going to walk him.
Now that the weather is warming up, though, I’m resolving to be better about getting them to walk. As I said, for Hobbes, this is the one event that will warrant him actually getting out of bed. For Snick, a walk is acceptable only as the price to pay for breakfast. He hates walking, but not so much that he will refuse to go, as he knows there’s food at the end.
Me? I work out plenty – I don’t need the walk. But a walk, early in the morning, does allow a convenient method for collecting my thoughts before the day starts getting too crazy. But my dogs should walk more2, if, for no other reason, that it’s easier to convince Hobbes to eat breakfast if he’s walked & therefore, already out of bed. As he’s old – I worry about him eating enough, though I believe the kids do a pretty good job of keeping him fed.
So I woke this morning to walk them. I wanted to stop, half-way through the walk, though, and start taking my bodyweight training to the playground at the local park . . . it just seemed right. The reason I’m working out as I’m working out is because I can to it just about anywhere — most of the exercises I’m doing, I need, only, myself. Dips need parallel bars. Pull-ups need something for me to pull myself up to — while I have a dip station and a pull-up bar at home, it’s just easier for me to work out when I’m not at home — at home, it’s difficult for me to get into the right mindset. And the playground has everything I need3.
So, this morning, I set my alarm and got up. Snickelfritz, hearing the alarm, woke and was raring to go – because, well, once someone is moving, it’s time for breakfast. But, we didn’t get breakfast right away, so he was all sorts of confuzzled. I got dressed in sweatpants, sneakers, and a tshirt, picked up a grumpy Hobbes (who got considerably less grumpy as soon as he started realizing that a walk was in his future) and walked downstairs to put the dogs on leashes.
As soon as I stepped outside, though, I realized that it was C-O-L-D. I contemplated whether this was “too cold” for Hobbes, decided that, no, it wasn’t, but that I, at least, needed a coat. So I started to walk back inside to which my 13 pound cairn terrier, thinking I was calling off the walk, protested by making me drag him. Seriously, this is a 13 pound dog, but he held his legs straight against the ground — I don’t know how he created such leverage, but it was pretty impressive. I guess it’s fair to say that he, at least, didn’t think it was “too cold” for him.
I promised Hobbes, right then, that I’d be far better about taking him for walks most any day that it’s not raining (when it does rain, even Hobbes will seem to say “it’s ok, we can skip a walk right now.”).
Of course, through all of this, my ulterior motive to get a quick strength training workout in was ruined when I actually got to the playground. It was cold — I got onto parallel bars to start doing some dips to warm myself up when I realized that I had no grip strength. Well, maybe I did, but I couldn’t feel my fingers . . . just too damn cold.
But, once the weather is warm enough for me to hold onto metal bars, I’ll be doing dips and pull-ups and back-levers. Unless I break my nose after falling while trying to do some silly gymnastics move.