About 10 months ago, over a period of about a month, I would walk our dog every day around midday. I was not working at the time, so it was a good way to help keep me (and her) on a schedule. Plus I enjoyed the exercise even if it was winter in Chicago. When my husband (then fiance) came home at night, I would tell him where we went and what we saw. Yet, after having a lymph node removed in January, I had to stop walking. I was recovering, and my arthritis was inflamed–it was one of two turning points for the worse I can identify (the other was at the end of last May). We got a professional dog walker and I have not attempted to walk her since.
Today, Elphaba and I made our triumphant return to the streets of Chicago at midday. It really is a lovely time to go out in our neighborhood. There are very few people out, and the people you do see are either moms with strollers, postal workers and other dog walkers (aka people who say hi and smile). Sometimes the children at the Catholic School up the block are at the park behind their church for recess. It’s especially lovely now because it is fall–crisp air, leaves on the ground. It is just perfect for walking.
And Elphie (which is what we call her for short) is a pretty good walking partner. Her leash walking skills are OK. I would say average just because she still likes to pull from time to time and can sometimes get too distracted by people/dogs/trucks/leaves to listen to what is being asked of her. At a year and half and thirty pounds, she is not capable of pulling my husband down the street when they run/walk but she somehow managed to catch me off guard twice today. Once was because she saw a house with that fake spiderweb stuff hanging from the fence. It moved in the wind. This is something that terrifies her so she tried to sprint in the other direction. The other time she just smelled a place in the grass she really wanted to get to.
I will admit that when our dog walker texted me today to check in, I was tempted to say please come, as I have all week, even though I have been and would be home. Instead I said we would not need him today and then found myself putting on my old dog walking gear; nice walking shoes, an athletic jacket, leggings, scarf and sunglasses. I was nervous about how long I would be able to walk and how far from home we should go, so I decided to stick to nearby streets and just take my time. While I was focused on Elphie and her walking skills, I was also paying close attention to mine. Having some relief from all the swelling and pain I had been experiencing in my left knee made the walk easier. I kept reminding myself to bend that knee. “Walk normal. Walk normal. Walk normal,” was my pace and mantra. And for the most part, it worked!
We were gone for 25 minutes and went about one mile, with stops for dog business and photo ops of course. When we got home, I felt great. Like you do after a good workout, strong, confident and hungry. And it was a workout for me. I have literally not exercised in 10 months but hopefully this is the beginning of a new period of activity for Elphie and me.