It’s been raining all day. Even when it stops there’s still a light mist falling from the sky, making for a pretty dreary existence. This is weather that’s not entirely conducive to a dog losing weight, because while he doesn’t really mind being out in the rain, I do mind, since I’m not the one with a weather-resistant fur coat. And River has proven in the past that if he’s outside unattended he’ll either ingest something poisonous, or, easily bored and unable to entertain himself, he’ll lay down and take a nap. While I commend the latter, my gym teachers in high school always frowned upon napping as a form of vigorous exercise, and as River’s mentor, I suppose I should do the same.
Because River’s a retriever dog, Fetch is one of the games we usually play outside. For the uninformed, Fetch is a game where the human throws something, a ball for instance, and the dog hunts it down and brings it back. Repeat as needed. I offer explanation, because some people confuse Fetch with “Fletch,” which was a movie starring Chevy Chase. While finding it mildly entertaining, most dogs won’t repeatedly view “Fletch” until they collapse, unlike a game of Fetch.
If you have one of those houses teeming with figurines, teacups and other breakables in curio cabinets, antique furniture, or frail elderly, I’d suggest not playing Fetch inside the house on a rainy day, no matter how fat and in need of exercise your dog may be. Especially if he’s around ninety pounds and thinks he’s a cute, wee puppy. Even in the home of an underpaid writer, who has nothing of value in their home, the underpaid writer will lose more weight worrying for the few items of value (such as, the couch or chair where said writer takes naps) than the dog, whose only concern is going after the fetchable object and not the resale value of hardwood flooring or the cost of reupholstering furniture.
There are a few creative ways a dog owner can safely exercise their dogs indoors on a rainy day and I thought I’d share them here, rather than work on my fiction proposal for Alyson.
Have the dog fetch you a martini. Depending on the geography of your apartment or home, the dog will have to leave a room to perform this task, thereby burning unwanted calories. In some instances, otherwise known as a Duplex, the dog will encounter stairs, otherwise known as Cardio. Mixing a good martini takes a level of concentration that will make the most hyperactive dog seem like a cat. (This is not a bad comparison, because cats know not to bruise Gin.) Due to the measuring, pouring, counting, stirring or shaking involved, not to mentioning bringing the drink to his owner, this is an excellent rainy day exercise for dogs and equally rewarding for the owner. Calories burned, 100.
Have the dog edit your manuscript. I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t that entail a lot of sitting around on your ass? Yes, it most certainly does. However, dogs don’t have opposable thumbs, so trying to hold the red pen alone burns a lot of calories, and provides the dog’s owner hours of amusement. Dogs are notoriously bad spellers, so this is also a good exercise for the brain. Just ask Dean Koontz’s dog, Trixie Koontz, who exercises Dean by making him edit her manuscripts. Calories burned: 150
Vacuum your apartment. While this may seem like vigorous exercise to the laziest of humans (myself included) and not to their dog, that is most untrue, as any dog owner will tell you. Leaping from a prone postion and running in terror into another room because of the noisy vacuum is excellent energy for any dog. Even the most brave of dogs who aren’t afraid of the vacuum cleaner, but who are inherantly curious, will receive a good work-out as he dances around the vacuum cleaner trying to figure out what it is, why it makes that noise, and how he might help his owner with the task at hand. The only unfortunate part of the vacuum cleaner workout is the cool-down period afterward, which involves shedding on the recently cleaned carpets. Calories burned: 200