Lace up those shoes

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016

“Waddle, waddle. Waddle, waddle.” Mike and I quacked and giggled like two kids on the playground. “Don’t make fun of Missy,” I said. “She is getting a little chubby, though, don’t ya think?” The southbound section of her long body heading north had the distinctive look of a duck or maybe a potbellied pig I thought as we enjoyed our walk around the neighborhood. And as responsible pet owners whose fault is that? Ouch!

Mike took Missy in for her shots and the vet’s scale upheld our observations. Our beloved dachshund, Missy, was fat! She had gained 5 pounds since we moved from our acreage in the country. Missy’s problem, according to Dr. Smith, is not too much food, but a lack of exercise.

Too many days when I returned home from work and Mike was on the road I just let her out in the backyard for a while, but didn’t take her for a walk. Now, the proof is more than her funny little waddle. It is documented on her chart, and could lead to serious complications if I don’t get equally serious about her health.

Sometimes in our busy lives, things get put on the back burner and consequences sneak up on us when we are looking the other way. I have been preoccupied with many important things, lately, but Missy’s well being is part of my responsibility. In reality, I’m sure lacing up those tennis shoes and pounding the pavement a bit will be good for both of us.

The weather is fabulous today, so there is no good excuse for procrastinating on our walking routine. I have heard that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, so I am on day one of a healthier lifestyle for Missy and me. Those few lingering pounds I have been carrying may disappear as well. Now that would be something to cheer about!

Mike just waved goodbye as his truck slowly rolled down the driveway. He appeared to be as reluctant to leave as I did to let him go after his very short week at home. I stood at the doorway smiling brightly as my eyes filled with unshed tears. I watched his truck turn into the street and observed Mike cast his eyes toward the house once more before pushing the gas pedal in earnest. Soon, he would trade his small truck for a big rig and haul thousands of pounds of freight from coast to coast for a few more weeks of trucking before returning home again. I’ll just have to surprise him when he returns with two healthier, slimmer girls!

Maybe I can import a squirrel or two from the country as part of Missy’s new and improved lifestyle. That would really get her heart pumping; squirrel chasing is one of her favorite hobbies! Now, I sit in the backyard swing enjoying the beautiful sunshine as she lounges contentedly at my feet. I guess it’s time for that walk.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at