This past Sunday, I spend the day with Sadie:
Sadie is a 5-year old Doberman Pincher….who is on a diet. You see, she is a “chowhound.” All Sadie wanted to do at Pet Club, was go down the food & treats aisle, trying to rip into bags of food so she could eat. I sort of felt like I was supervising an obese person, who needed to be on Dr. Phil & undergo hypnosis for weight loss. Or a kid at fat camp. Every time, I said “no” and dragged her away from the goodies, she would look back at me with her soulful, sad eyes….and I got a glimpse of what it was like to be a parent who has to say no to their obese toddler, while being filmed for a documentary on TLC. Life was a little rough.
I had to be firm though because Sadie needs to lose about 20 pounds. I would say she has already lost 15 pounds, which is great– but that still leaves a long way to go. So no scrambled eggs, no bacon, no peanut butter treats, no apple cinnamon treats. Instead, I had to encourage lots of walking. Which was tough because as every volunteer has noted since Sadie arrived at RESCUE, Sadie hates walking. She just likes to sit and be pet.
During these times, I had flashbacks to the episodes of “Biggest Loser” that I’ve watched, where the trainers have to encourage someone to just get off their butt and move it! With Sunny, whenever she starts to wander during our walks or gets distracted, I say “Move it or lose it, Sunny!” meaning “You need to keep moving or we are going to go back to being boring inside & you will lose this opportunity for a walk.” With Sadie, I said “Move it & lose it please, Sadie!” instead 🙂
The day started off a little rough when she wouldn’t leave dog daycare. She plopped down her 75-pound frame and looked at me with such trepidation in her eyes, that I immediately plopped down right beside her & started chit-chatting. We talked about the “Pet Club party” we were heading to, where she would see all of her friends and favorite volunteers. We talked about how swimsuit season is coming up so she needs to get up and walk, to get in bikini shape. We watched as lots of people & dogs came & went….but Sadie just sat.
Eventually, after thirty minutes, I told her we had to get a move on or we’d be late. I literally had to bear crawl to the door of dog daycare, looking back encouragingly, before she followed me. Once outside the door though, she suddenly got a burst of energy & jogged toward my car! Then it was up & in & off to Pet Club we went.
At Pet Club– besides trying with all her might to find morsels of food in hidden corners– Sadie did a great job with all of the other dogs, went up to everyone at the store to say “hi,” and walked most of the time! I was very proud of her for coming out of her shell a bit.
On the way out, we ran into Sunny, who was coming in for the second shift that day. She, of course, was being a social butterfly, and running up to everyone to say “hi!!!!!” I said “hi” too, and she didn’t seem to notice, which made me a bit sad 😦 I hadn’t seen her in two weeks, so I was thinking she must have forgotten who I was, given all of the other volunteers she sees. Almost at the front door though, another dog peed, & I offered to clean it up. As I was heading back toward the dogs, encouraging Sadie along, I heard a man say “I’m so sorry, she normally isn’t like this!” I looked up and saw Sunny, struggling with all of her might– more determination than I’ve ever seen in her– to get to me from the other side of the store! She hadn’t forgotten about me! She just had been so distracted with everyone around that she hadn’t noticed me when I said “hi” earlier! 🙂
Sunny came running up and, rather than flopping over for a belly rub like she always used to, sat down right in front of where I was kneeling and then inched-inched-inched her way as close to me as she could get, so that her cute little head was on my shoulder, nuzzling up against me. When I sat down Indian style, she climbed into my lap– all 50 pounds of her!– and snuggled up like a little lap dog! Sadie was very confused, so I made sure to keep petting her, don’t worry 🙂
After a few minutes, I got up to go get the paper towels for the doggie accident I still had to clean up, and Sunny dragged her DC right into the bathroom with me. Then she kept following me around, as usual. Eventually I had to distract her with a bone to sneak out with Sadie.
Since I didn’t want Sadie to feel sad about the spotlight being stolen from her at the end of the day, I made sure to spend extra time with her before I dropped her back off at dog days, giving her lots of belly rubs!
I did though fill her ear the whole time with lots of important health tidbits & exercise recommendations 🙂 Gotta do what I can do to get that girl in shape! 🙂