After retiring from being a fitness professional at (close to) the age of 50 in July 2020, I went from 60 miles per hour to 0 in the span of a single day. I was used to hour-long classes, frequent back-to-back sessions, and regular exhaustion. Having come down with the flu in February, I needed an excuse to take some time off.
Quarantine happened and my last pair of spin classes were on March 15th. By the summer, I was bored and needed to get back in the game. I started doing private driveway classes and ended up busier than I had ever been. By the middle of October, it was dark and cold around 6:00AM, so I ended those as well.
Finding the Right Dog-Walking Gear
Enter Eddie on October 17th. What to do? I had been working out non-stop for so long that I really didn’t know how not to be crazy about fitness. But Eddie hated her leash, hated her harness, and hated her collar. So I spent tons of time giving her chicken and trying to get her to like any of the walking accessories.
I tried out several different harnesses. This was difficult because:
1. Eddie is growing by around five pounds a week!
2. There are lots of different harnesses out there and everyone has an opinion as to what’s the right fit and why you should choose their favorite one.
It was definitely a process of trial and error. In the end, I realized Eddie likes wearing just a collar alone the best. A very good friend gave me her now deceased Golden Retriever's old collar and leash, and Eddie LOVES them! It feels like Harley, her dog, goes with us on our walks. I was so honored she gave them to us!
TIP: A great suggestion is to donate all the gear or equipment that your dog grows out of, loses interest in, or rejects to your local animal shelter. They are always grateful for everything!
Introducing Walks: A Slow and Steady Process
Eddie enjoying her daily walk on the trail.
We started small by going down the driveway. Inevitably, the Amazon truck would be backing up and making that horrible backup noise and Eddie would high-tail it back up the driveway. I tried to remind Eddie that we love the Amazon delivery people. After all, they bring all our goodies! Then, a week later, we made it all the way up my street (about 100 yards LOL). Then, we moved across the street, next we made it to the street over. You get the idea.
We have some beautiful trails in our town and, after living here for 15 years, I have finally discovered them. I just needed Eddie to give me a reason. After Eddie reached 12 weeks of age, we started on these trails. We used the same process as before, moving a little at a time. On our second trail walk, Eddie’s leash broke and I had to stoop and hold on to her collar the entire time. Of course, I saw a billion people I knew while looking so ridiculous. Several of them asked if I’d ever heard of leashes. Very funny, guys!
Meeting New Friends
I have met so many amazing people and dogs on these hikes. They are always interested in giving me advice and sharing stories. I’ve also learned that it’s okay not to take everyone’s advice and to handle Eddie the way I want.
Now, Eddie and I hike about an hour every day. We meet a group of very good friends and their dogs once a week as well. These outings, especially during COVID times, are a godsend to us both. I leave my phone at home and we’re really able to connect with each other while enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Last week Eddie and I met Millie, a 3 year old Great Dane, on our hike. Eddie ran up to her like, “Hey, let’s play!” She nearly pooped her pants when she saw just how big Millie was.
Watching Eddie run, play, socialize, and enjoy herself brings me so much joy. For so long, I was going full speed-ahead in my own career and life. I had really forgotten how grateful I am for these simple things. Taking walks with Eddie has really made me so grateful for her and helped me find the beauty in slowing things down.
Check Out Past Puppy Diaries
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The Stauff Family was compensated for their participation in this series by PetPartners, Inc., an indirect corporate affiliate of PetPlace.com.