March 19, 2009

Walking with Dog

I have been ramping up my exercise regimen over the past couple of months, and my pooch has been doing the same. We've been trying to get out three times a week for a walk around the neighborhood. I probably mentioned before that she is dealing with a partially torn ACL (old football injury), being 11 years old, and what we'll call being a little "husky" (not the dog breed).

Her report card so far is a solid B. I used to throw the Frisbee for her in the backyard, but with her knee problems that leads to a week of hobbling around the house. Being a dog, and a lab specifically, she won't stop even when she is in pain. The vet recommended in the absence of surgery or drugs, that we try walking to strengthen her muscles and get rid of her "pooch" (see what I did there).

She is very excited when I pick up the shuffle and put on my headphones. Sometimes this means we're going for a walk, but it could mean I'm going for a run or just doing some mindless housework. If I head toward the laundry room where her leash is - game on! Leaps, squeals and panting ensues. She doesn't bother with the warm up to exercise that we've talked about, and forget about stretching.

Our normal route is about a mile and a quarter and includes an open field behind the neighborhood church. Occasionally we'll see other dogs there off-leash, and she is always up for meeting someone new. I have a feeling that there are several other dogs that walk our normal route, because she stops regularly to either sniff the bushes or do her own marking. Who knew girl dogs marked? She is all smiles and has a little prance in her step as we make our rounds.

She has been doing pretty well so far. I can tell she favors the bad leg a little bit, and will do an almost skip sometimes to avoid putting too much weight on it. Afterwards, she will occasionally get up stiff-legged after being still to long, but no real limping lately.

Today, a non-walking day, I caught her in the backyard with her nose to the wind. On rest days, the neighborhood smells come to her.