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It is not uncommon for many of us to put in 10 hour work days regularly, and more during our busy seasons. At the end of the day all we want to do is to lie down on the couch in front of the television and not move until we crawl up the stairs to our beds. We have probably not eaten properly all day, barely moved from our desks and the pressure of our jobs is likely not good for our health.

Everywhere we look we are barraged by infomercials telling us to walk 10,000 steps, go to the gym and otherwise make commitments to improve our condition. Unfortunately, the television simultaneously sends us messages about fast food, energy drinks and other consumables that are not good for us. Which do you think has the bigger impact on our actions??? So we lie there munching on some junk food we cannot describe once we have finished it, watching television shows we cannot remember at the end of the evening.

I had the good fortune of being broken out of this pattern of sloth by my grand-puppy who moved in with us some months ago. My daughter adopted Tubby from a rescue group in Atlanta and he has been with us ever since. What I will not do for myself I will do for this precious animal.  Even if I am too tired to take on even one more activity, I still reach for my sneakers and I am rewarded with the start of the tail wagging I love. As I start to lace my shoes Tubby puts his snout in my hands to help me get ready faster.

Once I reach for Tubby’s harness and leash I get to see a whole dance of joy that can’t help but put a smile on my face. We race down the steps and into the street and for far too short a period of time we walk up hills and down. I have developed a real appreciation for an evening sky as I slow down enough to look up and enjoy the patterns of clouds. We both breathe deeply of the fresh air and love the scent of grass and flowers.

Slowly the stiffness in my shoulders loosens and my neck often gives little cracks as the tension releases. The tightness in my head lessens and, when we walk fast enough, my tongue starts to hang out a bit like Tubby’s. In short, I relax if only for the brief time of our stroll. I take this walk for the dog I love and I know that I would never do this for myself. And yet, who really needs the exercise more?

We know we should get out of our chairs every hour, but we don’t do it. We know we should stretch and get away from our jobs, but we don’t. Our work habits are not doing us much good so it is time for us to find a way to add in good habits with the bad.

You may not have an excuse like my Tubby to do what you need to do for yourself, but I suggest you find one. Meanwhile, I will continue to hug my grand-puppy and thank him for taking such good care of me.