Updated: Aug 20, 2019
The day after Christmas 2017, I finally quit smoking after 47 years. 8 months and 50 lbs. later, Rose entered my life. If you have been following along in this blog series you're already aware of the "Vacation Dilemma" and that she spent two weeks with me at my home. So now that we are all caught up....let us begin Part 5.
Australian Cattle Dogs require a tremendous amount of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them sane. Rose (even as a young puppy) was a true over achiever in this category. So while she was staying with me, exercise became a daily necessity.
We started walking around the block, roughly 1/8th of a mile. This was a good way to also teach her to walk on a leash. I also took her everywhere with me in an effort to socialize her. For most breeds, at 8 weeks old, this would have been enough to wear them out and satisfy their curiosities, But, this is Rose we're talking about. Definitely not your average puppy.
But my puppy sitting duties had come to an end. Tom and Pam returned from vacation. and Rose was now back with her owners, and everything returned to normal at my house. But, I had become really attached to this little Australian Cattle Dog puppy, so I stayed in touch and Rose came for visits to "Aunt Patti's" house.
About a week later, Tom and Pam took Rose to the beach for a little vacation with their granddaughter. When they returned, Tom had hurt his foot and was having trouble even putting on a shoe. Who was going to walk Rose? Guess who? Pam and "Aunt Patti".
I went to their house or Rose came to me twice a week for me to help with her exercise requirements. Pam was charged with walking her on the other days. Tom went back and forth to the doctor, ended up with his foot in a specialized boot, and orders from the doctor to stay off it. Wait? Didn't he get Rose so that he could get some exercise and lose some weight?
It wasn't long before it became apparent to me that walking Rose a block or two was not going to satisfy her exercise requirements. We gradually began walking and then running to the stop sign...then walking....then running to the mailbox...then walking. You get the picture. It wasn't long before we were running a mile...then two miles....then 3 miles. Not only was I, a long time smoker, running at age 58; but, Rose was actually pacing me. She knew exactly how fast I could run and she made me keep that pace. Rose also knew exactly where we had been so there would be no changing the route on the way back. Rose, is the canine version of those fancy running watches that have breadcrumb trails to help you get back on route if you get lost, and she is obsessive in that regard. When we run, Rose is focused, and unlike many dogs, she remains on task. She is not distracted by squirrels, children, cars, horns or other dogs. I've been around dogs my entire life and have never seen this kind of focus in a dog.
It is now February of 2019, and I am still running with Rose. I have lost the 50 lbs., and then some, that I gained when I quit smoking. I ran my first 5K in December of 2018, I completed a marathon relay this weekend and am scheduled for a 10K in April. All because of Rose, the ever incredible Australian Cattle Dog AKA Red Heeler.
Some say God works in mysterious ways. He sent Rose into my life, and she...in more ways than I can count...saved me.