Having a dog presents lots of drawbacks.
Tossing your laptop to the side, throwing back the blankets, and heaving yourself off the couch to coax-slash-drag the 75 pound German Shepherd to and out the door so she can vomit a steaming pile of puke into the snow/ice.
Scaring the dog when she doesn’t expect you to move/be/yell/breathe and she pees, just a little bit, on the carpet.
Dogs don’t understand sleeping in on Saturdays or Snow Days or two hour delays or anything other than, “I SEE A TINY BIT OF LIGHT AND, OMG, I HAVE TO PEE. RIGHT. NOW.”
Dog hair. Everywhere. So. Much. Dog. Hair.
Ginormous feet that always find the pressure points in your feet. I constantly have bruises. It looks like someone beats my feet.
Of course, we ended up with the Special Snowflake dog who requires the pricey dog food.
She will “peep, peep, whine” to go outside just as you find the most comfortable spot in the couch in the laziest part of the evening.
The barking at very inopportune times.
Sometimes she BREAKS WINDOWS, OMG.
Despite this long, very incomplete list, I’ve found many benefits to having a dog. I’ve decided to start sharing them, one by one. Mostly to remind me that having a dog remains worthwhile, even when we have to pay 48 dollars and change to replace a window in the living room because she felt overly excited that the boys got off the school bus. Ahem.
A benefit of having a dog: Winter movement.
My default in winter is to wrap myself in all the blankets, collapse on the couch, and not move. Callie’s default, in all months and at all times, is to move. And move some more. And move even more than that. All the time. All the movement. Go, go, go.
I have been working on my own winter movement as I train for the Pittsburgh Marathon. I’m running four days per week. But my rest days? Are sloth-like. I sit at my desk and work for eight hours. I stand to make dinner, and then I sit to eat it. I stand to help kids get ready for bed, and then I spend the rest of the evening on the couch. In the blankets. Sometimes with wine. If moving a wine glass to your mouth counts as movement, I maybe move a little bit, but I drink with my right hand and my FitBit Force is worn on my left wrist, so I get no step-counts for lifting wine to my mouth. Such a shame.
This winter has been especially wintery, with all the snow and the cold air and the ice and the repeating of all three, sometimes at the same time. Callie doesn’t care. She still needs to go outside to do her business. More importantly, she still needs to get some exercise. While we work to play inside with her to keep her activity count up, sometimes a dog just wants to go for a walk.
In fact, if you even say the word “walk,” she trots over to the key hook and noses at her leash and sits down, expectantly wagging her tail and looking at you like, “Yes. Yes, I want that. I want to walk. Now. Let’s go, human.”
Yesterday, I decided it had been over a week and she deserved a good long walk — despite the seven inches of snow and layer of ice atop that snow and the fact that it was once again snowing and the wind was blowing and winter. She got so excited about going for a walk that she peed a little on the kitchen floor.
After I cleaned that up, off we went. For our walk, my camera in hand.
She happily trotted along, remembering to heel when I told her to do so, and generally being the best dog ever. I let her off her leash when we got to the field where we normally throw balls and run and play and do all of the things you do with a dog. She worked very hard to run, confused as to why it took so much more effort. Eventually I started breaking ice apart and sliding it across the ice-snow at her. She chased it, oh-so-happily. It was, according to the grin on her face, the best. walk. ever.
I didn’t hit my goal for my step count yesterday. Even with the dog walk, I spent most of the day sitting and motionless and covered in blankets. But without that ice walk with my dog, I would have moved even less. The fresh air, however cold, was totally worth it. Having a dog forces me to take care of her which, by default, also forces me to take care of myself.
Yeah. I love having a dog.