Monday, August 20, 2012

My Motivational Mutt

In the past week or so, Zooey the Devil Dog has eaten (at least):
  1. Two 10-ounce Nathan hydration bottles
  2. My earbuds
  3. My headset that I use every single day for work
  4. A ballpoint pen
  5. Two 5-inch princess dolls
  6. Tissue from the bathroom trash bin
  7. Countless hair ties (I stopped counting after six)
She also attempted to eat up my Misto bottle, and she's started going after poor Holden a heck of a lot more; Sunday I had to hold her down in the alpha position for about 15 minutes before we were both calm.
Yes, she's a naughty, naughty hound dog, unable to control herself around gross, snotty tissues and miniature, rubbery-textured ball gowns.  I was always thankful for our Diaper Champ before HRH was potty trained, yet Zooey still gets her paws on the occasional training pant, usually getting caught with the trash bin lid stuck on her collar.

And yet I love that stupid mutt more than I ever could have imagined I would love a dog.

"Ai wuvs mai momma, and mai momma wuvs me!"
For all her foibles, Zooey is absolutely the sweetest creature, and I can't imagine a better first dog.  Except for the first 5 months we had her, when I was pregnant and didn't know what the heck I was doing with a puppy (we're pointing all fingers at The Husband for that timing), it's been relatively painless.

Even better - she will never say no to going for a run.
In fact, when my alarm goes off at 4:30, she is awake, ready, and panting excitedly by my side of the bed by 4:30:05.
Can you imagine her disappointment if I were to hit the snooze button?
And can you further imagine how badly I would feel were I to disappoint her so?

Regardless of how tired or sore or lazy I am at that point, once the alarm has gone off, there is no going back to sleep.  I did try that once.
Only once.
Sixty-plus pounds of black and tan coonhound jumping on you to see why you aren't getting up to go for a run is enough to teach anyone that lesson.
So, I get up and stagger to the bathroom to get dressed.  Zooey follows me to supervise and, if she's really lucky, snag a quick snack out of the trash bin.  I'm never dressed fast enough to please her, and those mornings when I fumble with my heart rate monitor are enough to drive her mad.

Why yoo iz not ready yet?
(Please, avert your eyes from the awesomeness of my legs
and ensemble; look at the adorbs pup instead)
Zooey greets every run with the excitement of a six-year-old on Christmas morning.  Once I start my GPS and take that first step, it's on like Donkey Kong, and I wish that I could explain to her the importance of the long, slow run on the weekend, as she doesn't seem to follow any training plan and just goes out 100% every single time.
My excitement level is usually more reserved, but I never EVER regret going for a run.  At this point in my running "career," by the time I'm lacing up my shoes, running isn't something I have to do; it's something I choose to do - because I love it.  And then it's on like Donkey Kong for both of us.
And I am so grateful to Zooey for that perspective.

Without her, it might be easy to say "tomorrow" every day for a week.

Without her, I could probably come up with every excuse in the book not to run.

Without her, I might hit that snooze button a few more times - and then run out of time to run.

Without her, I might not even be running.

Zooey gets me moving, and if you are looking for that motivation to move, a dog might be the just thing for you, too.
Oh, sure, my anecdotal evidence is one thing.  But several studies have proven that people with animals - dogs in particular - are more likely to get out the door and move.

After all, it's so much harder to come up with an excuse not to head out the door when this is what's looking back at you:

"What is this 'rest day' of which you speak?"
Running not your thing?  A pooch will be equally happy to join you for a daily walk or two.  Or is your mutt kind of a couch potato?  Good news - you can take a "doga" class (dog yoga) together!  There's even a DVD.
I'm considering getting it.

Of course, not everyone is in the position to get a dog.  They are commitments, emotional and financial commitments, and they require more attention than three runs a week.  If you do not think you can keep the commitment that you will need to make, please find another motivator.  But if you are ready for a canine pal, please look to adopt.  You'll not only have a new family member, but you'll be saving a life in the process.


  1. ZOOEY! She has an absolutely adorable can't say no to that. Josie definitely gets me moving more than my pre-dog years. We walk at least 30 minutes each day, most days more than that. Thank goodness for our sweet little motivators.

    1. I know - I can't say no to that face! the worst part of getting sick this week was knowing I was going to disappoint her! Thank goodness is right - keep on truckin' Josie girl!