Last week I got a pedometer to put in the bag that we take everywhere with Sous. It counts the number of steps we take, and so it can tell us what our total walking distance is. The total for the first week we had it: 25.51 miles. No wonder I don’t get so winded going up the hill to Soda anymore.
We always claimed that getting outside for consistent twice-daily exercise was one of our goals for dog ownership. At first, staring down another hour outside at 6:30 in the morning was nigh unbearable, but now by the time we get through the first block or so (especially on sunny days), I find my mood soaring. Probably the blood flow knocking loose some endorphins in my brain. Anyway, the alternative would just be staring at websites for another pointless hour in front of a monitor.
Unlike the world-shattering cataclysm that is taking in an 8-week-old puppy, the process of getting your life back as the puppy ages is the definition of gradual. Things from the last week that would have seemed impossible to the Bryan of January 19th:
- An evening spent in the south bay playing video games and drinking beer (thank you, Les).
- A 2.5-hour absence from the Great Sous Monster to go to a meeting and do some work at the lab.
- A trip with Sous to the lab to meet the graphics group.
- A relaxing hour at our computers with Sous quietly chewing some unspeakably literal dried cow anatomy.
- A day spent cleaning the apartment.
- A ‘down’ from 15 feet away with no hand signal.
- Reasonable confidence that when I put Sous down at 10:30pm she will let us sleep until 6am. Holy shit, this is the greatest thing ever.
These small victories have gone a long way toward repairing my psyche. Maybe its because the memory of my pre-dog life is fading, but I feel almost kinda sorta normal about facing a 45-minute walk at 6:30 every morning. And by the time 7pm rolls around, Sous is downright fun to be with. We started learning tricks (I taught her “shake” for Leslie’s birthday; she’s working on “roll over” now).
We’ve even started in on the new-age hippy clicker training that is all rage. I read a lot about it before taking the plunge. It seems unnecessary for a companion dog that you just want to well-mannered. But Sous has a big future of fetching beer for me, and as far as I can tell, clicker training is the way 90% of service animals and competitive obedience animals are trained. In my “beginner” clicker book there are instructions for teaching your dog to close cabinet doors, put errant dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and turn out lights. Think about it, man.
In the time I don’t spend molding my protégé, I’ve been working on a contract for a video game company that is doing a pretty good job of distracting me from my thesis. So I’m pushing hard to get that done so I can go back to my final sprint. Also, there’s this job search to do. It’s all seeming very possible these days.
Last night, Sous slept almost SEVEN HOURS between outside trips. Then she went promptly back to sleep until 7am. I feel almost like a normal person this morning.