Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Wonderdawg: Up for Walks?

For almost 15 years, Sadie the Superdawg saw to it that no matter what I went for a walk with her every day (or just about). Yes, her sweet spirit will remain with me always -- but will that spirit move me? With her decline over this summer, ending sadly with her passing on August 8, I have felt my waistline steadily expanding. I am terrified of stepping on my Weight Watchers scales, which are frighteningly accurate. (There is something to be said for telling it not quite like it is.)

In considering options for staying true to Sadie's free-walking spirit, I am wondering if there is one right beneath my feet right now -- the visiting grand dog, who certainly has plenty of energy for chasing a ball, but walking on a leash? Could this big boy be trained to do take a reasonably gentle walk without pulling this old man apart? If we went near a pond, would he drag us both into the drink in pursuit of the ducks?

Dasher Doing His Thing
Not meaning to disparage the grand dog (who is actually a celebrity with his own Facebook page), Sadie was a lady and he is a headstrong Colossus. Granted he contributes to the economy in that he has a productive day job. He works at the Ripken Experience toting baseballs to the pitchers' mound to open youth tournaments. During the week, he is a cuddly object of affection for hundreds of kids, many of whom are missing their beloved pets they had to leave back home to come play baseball near the beach for a week. His name is Dasher, born on Christmas Day 2010, truly a wonderdawg -- Dasher Ripken to be exact. (You can like him on Facebook if you like. My Sadie Holland also continues to have her page, if you'd like to visit there and pay your respects.)

Now, again, not meaning to be bad-mouthing Dash Man, but he has gotten rather thick around the middle. He weighs in at 103. Golden mix Sadie was a steady 63 most of her life. Yellow labs have a voracious appetite, and hanging around the concession stands as he often does, there is no telling how many hot dogs, hamburgers, or chicken nuggets might be slipped his way when management isn't looking. It is hard to think that Dasher would pass up a single morsel. But hey, let's get real. I like to eat hot dogs at baseball games, too, and I have an expanding waistline as a result of diminished dawgwalking. We have an interest in common: Dasher could benefit from losing 10 pounds; so could I. At least 10 pounds.

Potential Walking Buddy at My Feet?

One problem is that I battle spinal stenosis and have to stop and stretch out my back every block or so. Once Dasher's in motion, it is doubtful he will want to stop for anything. Could he be trained -- by me? By a trainer? Maybe.

Dasher goes to work in the mornings, and I am not an early-morning person. So maybe we could try some cool-of-the-evening outings -- a block or two for starters, then gradually increasing. Or maybe this will be a no-go, and I will eventually try to find another Sadie lady. Or if that is impossible, as it may well be, maybe I will just get myself a bicycle.

                                                 © Robert G. Holland

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