What dog sitting has taught me about my health

2014-11-07 08.15.06

It’s time to get out of bed and play!

It’s been an interesting week for me, to say the least. For the first time in years, I’ve recently begun to have less stress and more time, but that also coincided with extra pain and other symptoms and with some family issues. But this week, I was doing ok. I was feeling pretty good health-wise. My “to do” list feels overwhelming, but only because of the quantity. There’s nothing really horrible on it, like dealing with insurance companies. So it wasn’t such a bad week for watching this cutie.

I was nervous about this. I’d promised a while ago that I’d watch this adorable little guy, but as the time approached, I wondered if I could really do a good job. I’ve always wanted a dog of my own, but it was never feasible. First I was working and traveling too much, and I had landlords who wouldn’t allow dogs, and then my health problems prevented it. Recently, though, I’ve started to think that I might be able to handle dog ownership if I could find a landlord that would allow dogs. And this week was my test.

Now, if I got a dog I’d have a yard (it’s the only way I’d do it) so that would make things easier. Still, it would be a lot of work. This guy is 11, so he doesn’t need as much activity. Plus, he’s the easiest dog I’ve never known. He rarely barks, he lets you know clearly when he needs to go out, he doesn’t pull on the leash, etc. He’s great! And he was exhausting. So how much more tiring would a younger dog be?

2014-11-03 17.57.09

Look how cute I am! Don’t you want to share your dinner?

Last night I never finished washing the dishes. I was too tired. But the pooch still had to go out. There was no choice. So out we went. Down the stairs and outside, and he peed, and then back up again. Now it’s 9:30 am and I’m exhausted, but he hasn’t had any exercise today, so we’ll be taking a walk. And I still need to finish those dishes. It’s just what happens when there’s a dog in the house. I’m completely worn out and, after a full week, I’m glad I’ll be returning him to his owners today.

But then there’s the flip side. I’ve gotten more exercise than I have in ages, and I actually feel good about it! Now, the truth is that this is coinciding with some health improvements that I’ll write about another day. Still, even with those improvements I wouldn’t have done so much walking if it wasn’t for this guy. Not a chance. I might have taken a walk every other day. Instead, I’ve been taking 2 walks every day! Look, I even wore him out!

There have been studies about how petting an animal lowers blood pressure. For someone with hypotension that’s really not a concern, but it’s so relaxing to have him curl up on my lap. It’s just the best! I haven’t done much knitting this week

Thanks for the walk! Now goodnight!

Thanks for the walk! Now goodnight!

because my hands have been otherwise occupied with petting this adorable dog. Look at him! Who wouldn’t want to pet him? He helps my stress more than I would have thought.

And then there’s having someone else to focus on. No matter how tired I am or how much pain I’m in, I have to think about taking care of him. It’s good to shift my focus. I think we’ve all experienced this is in different ways. I know that I have. I teach a friend how to knit, or I give advice to someone, or I do some volunteer work, and it’s a great distraction from my own issues. But having someone here who needs my attention every day, like it or not, brings that attention shift to a new level.

It’s been a fantastic week. I’ve absolutely loved it. And while it’s shown me that I’m not ready to have a dog quite yet, I can tell that I’m getting close. And that when I do, it’ll be more beneficial to my health than I ever would have thought. Now if you’ll excuse me, someone wants to play fetch. Hint: it isn’t me.

Do you have a pet? How do you handle its care on your worst days? How does it help you?

9 Responses to What dog sitting has taught me about my health

  1. Lorna says:

    As you know I have a black Labrador. Sable has grown so much since I sent you her photo. |
    She is a very bouncy, high energy dog. However, energy can be used in other ways than just walks. Sable is food orientated and learns things quickly. E.g. bringing the post, putting clothes in washer, ringing a bell to go out and lots of others. This wears her out as well. Also playing ball, I sit in a chair, She has a garden as well. Fritz my hubby takes her out for a long walk in the morning and if I’m ok we go for a short one at night. At the moment she is having a season so isn’t going out very often but is fine at home. Labradors are people dogs, they love company and become very attached. They are also quite hard work to start of with, they need firm training and have to know you are boss. They are incredibly loving and loyal dogs.
    I think that you have to find a breed of dog to suit you and if you find a breed you like join a Facebook group for them. Reading about everyday life will help you know if you have made the right choice.
    I am glad you enjoyed your dog sitting and it is nice to have some company.
    Hugs xx

    • chronicrants says:

      Lorna, it sounds like Sable has been a fantastic addition to your family! I’m so impressed with the many tasks she can do, too. I’ve seen service dogs do impressive things, and it always amazes me. Labs are a very smart breed, which helps. I love labs, but realistically, I’d need a less active dog, especially if I don’t have a significant other who can help care for the pooch. But I’m sure one day I’ll find just the right canine pal 🙂

  2. sexyachymoody says:

    You could always adopt an older dog. He likely wouldn’t have to be house trained and he probably wouldn’t chew on everything like a puppy. 🙂 I wish I could have a dog too but I live in an apartment with no yard.

  3. We have a Boston Terrier. Clean, short-haired with minimal shedding. Can be high energy but at age 9, she is slowing down a bit. Requires a walk every day, which has kept both myself and hubby in the habit of a walk. On bad days she will curl up with me on the couch. As for walks on a bad day, just the minimum til she does her business, then home. I can’t imagine my life without a dog. We have had several over the years and went for about 18 months between our last Boston and this one, but the loneliness was too much. We adopted her from a rescue group. Not for everyone, but we manage and love her so much. Great companion.

  4. […] as I was feeling less stress and more energy, I spent a week dog sitting. I took 2 walks each day and was more active in between walks. And while it was tiring, I actually […]

  5. […] weeks ago I decided to walk every day. I had taken 2 walks every day while I was dog sitting, so 1 daily walk seemed reasonable. My health has been improving, and I know I need to keep pushing […]

  6. […] I’ve pet many in just these few short days, including my neighbor’s new puppy! Petting dogs always makes me feel better, no matter what. And soon I’ll have one of my […]

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