During a recent doctor’s appointment, I learned I’d gained 10 pounds in the last year.
“That’s impossible!” I hollered. “I only eat light cream cheese in my double-fudge turtle cheesecake!”
But I’m not too concerned. You see, I have a puppy. Not just any puppy, but a whirling, furry dervish of nonstop mischief, action and high jinks. He is like an X-Treme Titan Games Industrial Super-Charged Energizer Puppy.
He is giving me the greatest workout of my life.
And I am so tired. So very tired.
Whenever I tell friends about Winston’s ability to get up at 4 a.m. and hit the ground running, they nod sympathetically and say: “It’s like having an infant.”
I laughingly agree, then think of a ‘70s horror movie I once saw in which a couple gives birth to a mutant baby with a full set of needle-sharp teeth, full mobility and a propensity for homicide.
And I think: “Well, Winston is more like THAT infant.”
I’ve been assured that he is just being a puppy. Pups don’t have opposable thumbs, so they explore the world with their adorable, little yappers, which could easily tear flesh from a full-grown rhinoceros.
I’ve had other puppies, who also used to “play-bite” and had to be taught bite-inhibition. I tried the usual corrections — a firm “No bite!,” refusal to move, an air can, removing myself from the room so they equate biting with being separated from their owners.
But those pups seemed much more passive and willing to please. Winston doesn’t give up. I’ve purchased about $75 in chew toys, Kongs and treats for him. Even then, he prefers more substantial prey. Like my feet, my calves, the legs of the dining room table, the corners of my kitchen cabinets and the border of my living room carpet.
Well, at least I will be super buff. My life has become a constant, strength-building, cardiovascular-boosting workout, as I struggle to stay a step ahead of a puppy that I suspect is actually a dire wolf.
Perhaps I can profit from this. I envision a workout routine that could turn legions of exhausted and overwhelmed puppy owners into an army of invincible hard-bodies.
Envision the possibilities:
- Rover Resistance Training: Think of how you’ll build up leg muscles by dragging a wriggling puppy, whose teeth are embedded in your pant leg, around the house. You can intensify this workout by either borrowing a Newfoundland puppy and/or removing your pants so he can clamp onto your bare leg. This results in an intense aerobic workout as you run screaming around the living room while trying to shake him off.
- Race-the-Colon Core-Strengthening Workout: A dog’s digestive system is fairly complex, with a pancreas, cecum, small intestine and colon. However, I suspect a puppy’s digestive system is essentially one large culvert that runs directly from his mouth to his back end. Factor in all the things he eats when you aren’t looking (bark, leaves, shoes, dead things, the occasional screen door) and you will realize that much of your day will be dedicated to waste disposal. The good news is that this constant bending over and picking up, although humiliating, will give you ab muscles like Jason Statham.
- Floor is Cujo: If you wish to avoid unsightly and painful lacerations from puppy teeth, you could try designing your own “Floor is Lava”-style obstacle course in your living room. You will need to jump from ottoman to couch to end table and back again, all while avoiding the snapping jaws of the puppy on the ground.
- Walkthedogathons: Dog-training experts recommend a minimum of two walks per day to use up puppy energy. If your puppy is like Winston, each walk should be no shorter than 36 miles and should preferably incorporate being chased by bears while crossing at least one set of whitewater rapids.
- Sprinting with Spot: Puppies are fast. You will need to be faster. Your life will become a series of frantic sprints as you try to block the puppy’s latest adventure, whether that be closing the pet gate so he can’t soil the carpet, picking up that antidepressant you dropped on the floor or keeping him from jumping up, muddy-pawed, on your fragile great-aunt.
Want a complete, head-to-toe workout? Let him escape the front gate, then run behind him foolishly as he tries to catch a jackrabbit. Or try to hold back his squirming, lunging little body while you cross over the door threshold first in a misguided effort to assert your alpha-dog status.
Who are we kidding here?
You will never be the alpha, but at least you will have great abs.
Readers can reach columnist Tammy Swift at firstname.lastname@example.org.