Au Naturel Lipo

It was August. It was 5:00 PM. In Tallahassee Florida, in mid 90 degree heat, driving down a major thoroughfare, I almost lost track of my steering due to a fine sight on the sidewalk.

Yes, you imagined correctly – a tiny pitbull mix of sorts, happy as they come, waltzing down the sidewalk, owner in ‘hot’ pursuit attached to the dog’s leash. Both smiling.

The owner was what one would call overweight. Even when I saw this, it turned out that we lived in the same apartment complex where everyone knew me as the quintessential dog lover and so of course we got talking. He explained that he used to be obese. Highly so. And then he adopted her. The little black pit-mix. No doubt he saved two lives.

Dogs are your shortest path to a healthy happy life. I was one to be a very still couch potato. Disliked the outdoors. I was never obese but I was definitely unhealthy. Until I adopted Kahlua.

So let’s talk about what keeps us from exercising. We’re lazy. Or, we have long days. Maybe it’s cold or raining and going out is not an option. So we force ourselves to buy that gym membership that we will never use because our heart is not in it. Or we decide to ‘diet’. And you know how that goes!

Now, let’s see how having a dog eliminates all these reasons one by one, and makes us healthier, happier individuals.

It's walk time folks!

It’s walk time folks!

1. We’re lazy – that is fine. Most dogs (the larger ones) are lazy too – they are the perfect couch companions. I currently am blessed with two. The couch is large enough for the three of us. But guess what? Only one of us is allowed to use the bathroom inside! So we leash up, at least twice a day, and we go out to walk. We come back pinker in our cheeks and big smiles on our faces. Happier, healthier.

You can't ignore me :)

You can’t ignore me :)

2. We have crazy long days- and it’s ok. Who doesn’t have bad days or problems? But, can you look me in the eye and tell me you’re still tired when you walk in the door and there is a HAPPY puppy waiting to smother you with love and kisses? And he or she might bring you a tennis ball too! Really tell me, will you go sit on the couch and mope around, or will you throw that ball ? And then, you will leash up and go out for a walk and return happier and healthier.

3. It’s cold or raining and going out is not an option – Guess what ? Going out is no longer not an option. I have been out in subzero temperatures, heavy rain and winds. Because my fur kids have to go out.

The difference in adopting a dog and buying a gym membership (apart from all the obvious reasons) is that it’s not just about you anymore. There is another life at stake. Would you be able to live with yourself if your dog got obese and unhealthy and had a shorter life span? I know I wouldn’t! And walking or running a few miles on a trail with your dog is way more fun than being on a treadmill like a little hamster in a wheel. The fresh smell of the outdoors, the trees, chasing your pup in an open field, no gym membership can beat that feeling. The difference is you are working out and you don’t even know it. And you’re happy. You don’t have to push yourself to do something you don’t like doing, or compare yourself to other gym-goers lifting those dumbells for no apparent reason.

Another way in which dogs contribute to a healthier happier life, is by making your paths cross with fellow dog lovers. The ‘dog-world’ is like a whole parallel universe that exists alongside the ‘non-dog world’ and suddenly, you have access to it. This whole new world with new people who have a lot in common with you, hold dog friendly parties and events, do amazing things to rescue dogs and slowly your social structure becomes all about them. And here is why I think this is healthy – your gatherings will most likely consist of going to a park or the small hillock in your area to play ball, or going on hikes, or biking with your dog buddies and their pups, as opposed to going to a restaurant to eat. Next, they always understand where you’re coming from. No One judges you for skipping that dinner because you don’t want to leave your pup alone. They understand that your primary concern is your dog’s well being. You have an instant support group. You have like minded people around you. And the presence of all those dogs is the icing on the cake.  It is amazing what wonders this can do for your health and general well being.

I’ve taken up enough of the Petsitters blog’s real estate already :) Before I sign off, I would like to say I eat all the burgers, chicken wings, pizzas and desserts that I like. Never hold back. I am not stick thin but I am not obese either. Because I know that I have two fur children at home, one of whom is always ready to run and play frizbee in the park, and the other ever ready to run no less than three miles at a given stretch, so I will be exercising whether I like it or not, but I know for a fact that I will like it and I will come home smiling, and pink in the face. So I urge you, go out and adopt your own lifeline, today!

1463095_10152008042205266_887481768_nPS: I have made multiple references to having two dogs. But really, the little one is a foster and up for adoption. If you are in the Tallahassee area and are interested, contact me.

 –Shalini Israni

About the Blogger- Shalini Israni, orifinally a Puneite, she is currently based in Florida for her Masters degree. Shalini found her love for dogs in Florida when promptly adopted a black lab mix – Kahlua Israni (as seen in the pic above). Shalini and PetSitters connected over the love for dogs and she is now our guest writer for PetSitters blog.