I’ve been a little naughty lately, but it’s really not my fault. I’m bored. Do you hear me well enough?! I said I’m BORED! Nobody pays attention to me. So I sit at home and plot ways to get someone to notice me.
Chewing on things I find lying around the house. Check!
Running around like a hyperactive maniac (what my mom calls the Tazmanian Devil dog.) Check!
Barking at every chipmunk, squirrel, dog or kid in the neighborhood. Check!
Leaving kibble in my bowl, so someone will think I’m not feeling well. Check!
About the only thing I haven’t done is raid the garbage can and that’s because they have one of those dog-proof contraptions.
You see, my mom has been a little under the weather with foot surgery and oral surgery. She complains about pain and can’t seem to get her tush off the couch when she’s at home. My dad is working at his regular job and then coaching football, so he’s never home. My brother is working and also walking
other neighborhood dogs for extra income… so no one ever pays attention to me. Oh sure, they make sure I have food, water, potty breaks, etc. but they don’t really PLAY or WALK or TAKE ME ANYWHERE!
My mom has a so-called “sedentary lifestyle.” It’s just a fancy way of saying she doesn’t move enough. She gets home from work and sits on the couch with her foot up. Let me tell you something. It’s not good for humans and it’s not good for pets, either.
Just a quick Google check will tell you that for humans, sitting too much can cause anxiety, heart disease, obesity and other nasty ailments that can lead to early death. (Don’t seem so surprised. If I can write a blog, certainly I can use a computer!) But did you know being left alone too much or not getting enough exercise can cause problems for dogs and cats, too?
We might do things you don’t like out of pure boredom. Our muscles can get weak and we might lose our ability to run or jump. We can put on extra weight which slows us down even further. And health issues? I’d rather not talk about digestive problems, constipation, high blood pressure or diabetes.
I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. But I do want to ask you what are you going to do about it? Seriously, I get that sometimes pet parents are temporarily too busy or physically unable to take their pet for a walk (like my mom.) Mom, you really should heel… I mean heal!
In the meantime, perhaps she should hire a dog walker or try playing an indoor game of fetch from the couch or even blowing bubbles and letting me try to catch them. That’s a game that many cats enjoy, too. And if she can’t exercise my whole body, exercises for my brain (and tummy) are good diversions, too. Think food puzzle toys, peanut butter stuffed Kongs or even teaching me new tricks!
I’m really not trying to scold Mom or any other pet parents for being sedentary, sluggish, slothful or just plain sitting too much. I’m just trying to gently encourage all of you to move a little more. Interact with your pet a little more. And think of clever things you can do together. That way we all can be happier and healthier. And maybe even thinner!
Until Next time,
PS: Mom, the whole “I just had foot surgery” excuse isn’t going to work at all next month, so I’m encouraging you to get your act together. I’ll try to be satisfied with walks that go only 2 blocks, but you’ve got to work on your flexibility and stamina. Deal?
When People Get Too Busy!
At my house, the people are entirely too busy. They are always going to work or running errands or trying to find their keys (mom, you really have to get your act together!)
It’s kind of like that famous Yoda saying: Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
Only it goes like this: Busy-ness leads to stress. Stress leads to forgetfulness. Forgetfulness leads to disaster.
The really great thing about having a pet is that we won’t let you forget. If you forget to feed me, I’ll remind you in not-so-subtle ways. Like sitting on your head or barking insistently. If you forget to take me for a walk, I’ll give you the sad puppy dog eyes until I get my way. If you forget to take me to the veterinarian, I might just ignore that transgression, but the vet will send a reminder card.
And then there’s that whole stress thing. The pet in your life will get you moving, establish a schedule and make your heart happy! Did you know that people who have pets get more exercise, weigh less and are more social than their pet-less counterparts? Did you know petting a furry friend lowers heart rate and blood pressure, while elevating mood? In other words, pets are a natural, drug-free stress reliever.
But let’s talk about disaster… not the swept-away-in-a-flood, house-burned-down, someone-was-killed-in-a-car-accident kind of disaster. When it comes right down to it, there are real disasters and then there are “bumps in the road” kinds of occurrences. Yes, you might have messed up that project at work or forgotten someone’s birthday or hurt someone’s feelings. Maybe you even stepped on someone’s tail and actually physically hurt the furry one in your household.
But the really great thing about having a pet is that we won’t grumble or complain. All is forgiven and forgotten. “Unconditional love” is what we call it.
If you know someone who is super busy, please remind them to slow down and enjoy the pleasures of life: a beautiful day, a loved one by your side (or at the other end of the phone), the enjoyment of a good meal or a pleasant walk. Those are the things that make me happy! You might be able to postpone that meeting, errand or appointment. But you may not always have the opportunity to spend time with the stress-relieving, forgetfulness-abating, unconditional-loving pets in your life!
So go out there and get “un-busy!” Stop and smell the roses.
Except those thorns hurt my delicate nose, so I actually prefer the scent of canine urine on the fire hydrant!
Until next time, Zoe
PS: When my pet parents are away on vacation, they actually call me and talk to me on the phone. It’s the weirdest thing. I can hear them, but I can’t see them or smell them. I know they are talking to me, but I can’t find them. It’s kind of like a Jedi mind trick. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
My parents had better not use the W word unless they really mean it. The second I hear WALK, I literally jump for joy. Seriously, I jump up and down like a maniac.
So if you’re at my house don’t use that word in a sentence unless you’re going to follow through. “Did Zoe have her walk yet?” Even if I just got back from a 2 mile stroll, I want to go again!
In case you didn’t know, a tired dog is a happy dog! When people say they are dog-tired, they really mean they are blissfully content.
Walks, like dogs, come in all kinds of forms. There’s the getting down to business walk where all we really need to do is… um… you know… do our “business.” And there’s the “sniff and mark” walk where we try to determine who has been there before us and we leave our scent, too. Dogs make sense out of the world through scents, where humans seem to make sense out of the world through cents or money and power. Let me tell you something, a person who loves a pet and is loved in return is rich beyond measure, without a hefty mortgage payment as proof.
But the best kind of walk is the “power walk” where I lead you on long adventures and we both get lots of exercise. Studies have shown that people with dogs are 25% less likely to be obese. We are great motivators (I don’t mind the rain or the dark!) and we help you improve your social life, too. Mom, how many times have you met someone new in the neighborhood because you stop to talk about your dogs?! These conversations usually start with “Oh, your dog is so cute!” (I’m not vain, I’m just stating facts!)
I also help my mom develop her arm muscles because sometimes I lie down and refuse to move one inch further. Then we go for a “carry” instead of a “walk.” Believe me, when she carries my 7 pound frame for several blocks, she’s getting a great upper body workout while I get a well-deserved rest! I have tiny short legs (and 4 of them) so I estimate I take 16 steps for every 1 step she takes. It’s a wonder I can keep up at all.
The dogs at the shelter get lots of walks because we have wonderful volunteers who take them on meandering journeys throughout the neighborhood. But what the shelter dogs really need is YOU to take them home. Then they can lead you on walking adventures, or some dogs really would love to be your running partner as well as your partner in life. By the way, cats can be taught to walk on a leash, because they need exercise, too. A sedentary pet is often an obese pet and an obese pet is often an unhealthy pet (same goes for humans!)
So if you’re worried about a few extra pounds, if you’re watching too much TV or you need an excuse to get moving, just get up off the couch, adopt a dog if you don’t already have one, and take a walk.
Walk? Walk? Did someone say walk? Let’s go!
Until next time,