Why I Walk

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What is your “why”? What inspires you? I was asked this recently by some friends of mine who run Thank You For My Fitness. Thank You For My Fitness is a clothing brand celebrating the stories behind why we get and stay fit. October is Adopt a Shelter Pet Month. So, I thought I would write about my “why.” Anyone who knows me knows that I love dogs. In fact, walking my first dog helped me get active, and my current ones keep me active.

Awhile ago I was walking my dogs and a gentleman driving by pulled over and said, “How on earth do you walk three dogs??”

I laughed and said, “It helps to work out!”

He grinned, “Good thing you do!”

walking four dogs
Sometimes there are four.

Walking and Caring For Senior Dogs

Bandit. I am wearing a Thank You For My Fitness shirt in this photo. I love this shirt!

Folks ask me questions like that a lot. People also ask if I walk dogs professionally, or someone who works for the Wag app. I tell them no actually, I’m just an amateur dog adopter. One of my passions is rescuing, adopting and fostering shelter dogs. Very specifically, my passion is senior shelter dogs. I have three seniors right now and a fourth who is in foster.

So, my house is busy. I walk and care for three to four dogs at time. They range in size, but many of these guys have been through a lot. Some of them have arthritis issues, some are just shut down from their past lives. There have been dogs with dental issues, skin problems and kidney disease. I’ve had dogs with cancer. I’ve had dogs that have died in my arms.

Fitness and My Love of Old Dogs

Ace is about 78 pounds.

So, how does that equate to working out and staying fit? I’m grateful for my fitness because, without it, I wouldn’t be able to take in all the dogs that I do. I need to be able to lift any dog I take in. I need to be able to help them into cars, up steps, into bathtubs and sometimes, the vet’s office. Because I have taken up CrossFit and weightlifting, I can lift and carry 80-90 pound dogs if I have to. 

In addition, I believe in the healing power of dog walks. They are good for me, and they are good for my boys. Dogs and humans alike need fresh air, exercise, and new scenery. Being cooped up behind four walls is not good for us. I give them all two walks a day, pretty much regardless of weather. (I do make exceptions for thunderstorms.) It’s amazing to see how a dog will start to open up once they are outside on walk instead of being inside a shelter.

I believe all shelter dogs deserve a second chance. Of course, I can’t help them all, but I love being able to help the ones I can. And I couldn’t do what I do if it weren’t for being fairly fit. So, I keep lifting weights and heading to CrossFit. Besides… it’s fun!

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