Puppy Training

farmgirlmiriam

(c) farmgirlmiriam, pixabay.com

It’s been kind of a stressful year so far (as you may have gleaned from my lack of posting). Work has been crazy, and because of that and some other big life events, my immune system has also been fritzing out on me. I’ve had all my typical autoimmune symptoms – low grade fevers, exhaustion, muscle aches, brain fog – in other words, it’s been a treat.

One of the terrible things that’s happened is that I had to put my cat to sleep. My poor sweet Stella has been with me for eight years (I got her when she was four), and has had probably as many health issues as my own self. She had an autoimmune disease (no, I’m not kidding), severe gum disease that caused the loss of 80% of her teeth, and chronic pancreatitis (which is what got her in the end. The vet thinks it was caused by a tumor). As any of you who have lost a pet knows, it’s been really hard without her. She always slept curled up against my chest, so I’ve been having trouble sleeping without her there, in addition to just missing her sweet little face and (sometimes annoying as hell) constant meowing.

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(c) HealthyEmily.com

However, I am one of those people who have wanted a dog since I was old enough to know what a dog was. Since, as Cesar Millan would say, Stella was totally the leader of my pack (she was in charge, and she knew it), I’ve never been able to get one. Now that she’s gone, it might sound heartless, but I’ve been cheering myself up by preparing to get a puppy!

I’m on a waiting list to get one from a breeder (after months and months of research and talking to various breeders), and it should be born in the end of the summer.

One of the things I’m worried about, though, is my ability to physically care for a dog. Especially with the months-long flare up I’ve been in the middle of, how am I going to have the physical energy to be able to take care of a dog, much less a puppy?

The breed I chose, after careful consideration, is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, largely because they are reputed to be low energy. All the books and articles I’ve read say that they need just a 20-30 minute walk daily.

So I decided to use this long lead time to start – as you may have guessed from the title of this post – puppy training! I shoot for a 20-30 minute walk three or four days a week. Sometimes I walk at a right swift clip, and sometimes I mosey along at about a 20 minute mile. But I’m out there, walking, doing my thing. Obviously, I’m planning to increase the days and the intensity of the walks, but for now, I’m really satisfied when I can do a minimum of three days. If I’m really feeling badly that day, I don’t push myself – mindfulness and listening to my body has become really important to me. But by building up my stamina again now, slowly and steadily, I should be ready by P-Day!

Sometimes I look back at my earlier workout posts on this blog, and want to cry when I

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(c) 2536477, pixabay.com

read about the intensity of my old workouts. I used to really kill it in the gym. And now I’m happy if I get in one mile in twenty minutes a few days per week. It makes me really sad. But that’s part of life with chronic illness, I guess…I keep reminding myself that what’s important is that I’m still trying, still getting out there, still doing the best I can, even if that’s just a short stroll. And it feels good to have something to look forward to and work towards again.

How has 2017 been treating you?

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