Dogs as exercise and rest companions

This weekend I’m looking after my dog friend Dixie. And she’s looking after me. Her human Steph is off kayaking with Janet, another human friend, so Dixie and I drove over to my house on Thursday.

Dixie ( a white and russett-colored medium-sized dog)in the passenger seat of my car, looking very pleased at the prospect of travel.
Dixie, sitting in the passenger seat of my car, looking very pleased at the prospect of travel.

One of the things I really enjoy about dog sitting is getting outside several times a day with them for a little constitutional and some olfactory exploration (well, for them). I know, walking a dog may seem like a nuisance (especially when it’s cold or rainy), but it’s also fun to have the excuse to stroll around the neighborhood, checking out the dozens of ways the place changes through the seasons.

However, this weekend with Dixie is a little different. I’ve got a flare-up of sciatica, which has not been getting better, and although walking is okay and not painful, I’m in a good bit of pain and general fatigue from it. Sitting hurts, driving hurts, working at my computer hurts. Lying down isn’t great, either. Blech.

Yes, I’m going to PT soon– just got a referral from my doc and scheduled appointments. No, I can’t take anti-inflammatories (that’s a story for another blog post). So, yes, my physical and emotional state is, well, a bit sad at the moment. What can I say? We all have our low times.

Enter Dixie. She is a guest in my apartment all weekend. We’re not being as active as I wanted– no really long walks are in the offing. I have scheduled a few Wag walks (Wag is an app for scheduling– you guessed it– dog walks!). And I’m walking her a couple of times a day myself. It’s okay.

But honestly, the best part of having Dixie with me is her sweet companionship when I’m not being active. Just being in the same room with a supine or sleeping dog is one of the best anxiety-reducers on the planet. This is true at least for me, and for those who don’t mind all surfaces of their house being covered in dog hair. But who can resist this?

While I’m doing some of the sciatica exercises, she joins me on the yoga mat, wanting to become one with me, either out of a sense of empathy, or perhaps because licking one of her favorite pastimes.

Speaking of licking, my kitchen floor is soon free of any errant food particles when she arrives.

Dixie, hoovering up some food from my kitchen floor.

Whether I’m feeling more active or passive, it’s good to have a dog around. Dixie is hanging with me come what may, and even if nothing much comes our way. That is a nice way to spend an otherwise cranky and ouchy weekend.

Hey readers, do your dogs or cats or other animals react differently to you when you’re sick or injured or just a bit down? I’d love to hear about it.

Let us know what you think....