I have been fighting for the better part of 15 years against getting dumped into the crazy cat lady bucket. In fact, I thought that getting a dog like mine would make it clear that I’m not a crazy cat lady. Here’s a cute picture of my dog in case you forgot how sweet his face is.
I never saw crazy dog lady coming. It caught me completely by surprise. But here it is.
So I’ve explained that I need to exercise more, but leaving the sweet, social, playful dog stuck in his crate while I do it seems like a bad deal for both of us. The dog looks really sad and pathetic, in his crate, even though I never close the doors. But it’s getting to the “put your own oxygen mask on before you try to help others” point, because his situation is really stressful, and the rest of my life is not waiting helpfully on hold while I figure out how to help him. I need to find a way to exercise that doesn’t make me feel like I’m ditching him to pain and loneliness.
This weekend, I figured out how to do it. The mental picture of the resolution is so elegant, if you just take in him and me. But if you take in him and me from any perspective beyond mine? I start to look a little… or maybe a lot… like a crazy dog lady. When I caught the mental picture in widescreen, I gasped. “Really? That’s what we’re going to do? Remember when you thought that having kind of a large dog was going to help you meet outdoorsy, dog-loving single guys with whom you might share quality time? Because that’s not happening in this picture.”
But as much as I’d love to find an outdoorsy, dog-loving single guy to share quality time, that’s not at the top of my list right now. Hopefully this is a short-term problem, and physical therapy or physical therapy and surgery will help let the dog resume a more reasonable level of activity, but I can’t wait to see how long it takes to resolve— I need a solution for now.
Have I kept you in suspense long enough?
Yes, I’m getting one of those stroller/bike trailer things that you use for a small child. And I’m going to push my dog around in it, like a big old freak.
Let’s be clear— that picture of the dog is from last fall. The dog is now 75 lbs at least with painful-looking swollen wrists, one back leg that looks a little like it belongs on John Wayne, and a short back leg that kicks out jauntily, though not entirely helpfully to the side. If you want the sweetest dog in the world, smart, trainable, etc., I can totally pick ’em, but functioning limbs seems to be my weak point in dog selection. Mine didn’t have one that hasn’t needed diagnosis and treatment by a flock of specialists. But he is sweet and lovable, and if he tolerates being wheeled around, he’ll like it way better than being left behind. I can let him out and he can walk, sometimes, but if I want to take a really long walk, I need a plan that doesn’t involve him putting in the steps the way I do.
At least for now, I wouldn’t use it on my road bike. I can barely haul myself up a good-sized hill, and my neighborhood is all good-sized hills. But I imagine pushing him up good-sized hills on foot will do wonders for my cardiovascular capacity, so who knows what I’ll be able to manage before the summer is out.
I didn’t want to buy one new (good ones range from $200-$600 and I don’t know that he’ll like it), so I started looking secondhand, and asked my eldest niece to help me brainstorm ideas. She’s a Pinterest wizard, so she sent me some ideas, and then said “just ask on Facebook if someone’s getting rid of one.” I didn’t want to seem like a charity case, but I went ahead and asked, owning why I wanted it (better that you go into it knowing that I’m going to retrofit it for my dog than that you think I’m giving it to underprivileged orphans), and a friend has already offered me one that his kids have outgrown. I’m very grateful, and excited to be able to use it, even if I’m suddenly regarded as the strange neighbor who thinks her enormous dog is a child.