My new, ummm exercise program?

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Starting an exercise program is never easy, at least for a gal who is a foodie, but some events in life, well, just happen by accident.

Apparently my dog, Hank, decided he needed an early morning run, which prompted me to also start a new running program on a recent frosty morning.
I’m not sure who was more surprised - me as I ran up and down through my neighbors’ back yards or them looking out their windows to see what their dogs were barking at and finding an out-of-shape woman wearing mismatched clothes with a towel wrapped around her wet hair who was gasping for breath.
Our little jaunt started out innocently enough when, after hopping out of the shower, I let the Boxer we adopted last year out for his morning potty. He had been doing so well at going out, doing his business in our yard and coming right back inside, mostly I’m guessing because he likes his warm bed and has to be dragged out of it on these chilly mornings.

My entire family has been working with him on teaching him to come when called, play but not be aggressive and mostly to learn the boundary lines around his yard.

When he first came into our home, he was a handful. He wasn’t used to us and we had never had an indoor dog, so we learned quickly and the hard way I might add that you couldn’t let him out because he’d run as hard as he could go.

After doggie obedience classes, a whole lot of love and patience, he became a completely different animal and he’s wormed his way into our hearts. Heck, his were the first Christmas presents I even bought this year.
He was doing so good with going outside and coming back when called, that is until he decided that I should start an exercise program.

So there I was huffing and puffing up and down the neighborhood, frantically calling his name, hoping that my yelling would not wake the neighbors who might be trying to catch a few more zzzzs.

When it became apparent that I needed reinforcements, I alerted my husband and daughter, who just happened to have come home from college to spend a couple of days.

Now it’s a full on “get him or else” race to the finish. I got close, once, only to have Hank, who was about a foot away from me, look me the eye and I swear, throw back his head and laugh before taking off at a run.
My husband, who was in the car, was attempting to coax Hank in for a ride, which is absolutely his favorite thing in the world to do besides sleep and now maybe apparently run. Hank ran to the car and was just inches from my husband’s grasp when he got another wild hair and his second wind and he ran as hard as he could across Dry Ridge-Mt. Zion Road.
I caught up to him, again huffing and puffing, in a side yard, but when he saw me sneaking, as much as you can when you are winded from not being used to running, towards him, he was off again.
My daughter, who ran out of the house wearing flip flops, attempted to cut him off, as I skulked through back yards.

A nice lady came out and asked if we lost something and when my daughter explained our situation, the lady asked a few questions.
The conversation went kind of like this:
Lady: What does he look like?
Daughter: He’s a Boxer.
Lady: Is he brown?
Daughter: Yes.
Lady: Is he about this tall? (She uses her hand to indicate roughly Hank’s height.)
Daughter. Yes.
Lady: Sorry, I haven’t seen him.

She was nice enough to say that if she saw him, she’d let us know.
Dejected and out of breath, I climbed back into the car. We were already late for work and I was mad; mad at myself for letting him out and they were mad at me for the same reason as well as the fact that I wasn’t too nice while we were hunting, I mean, exercising.

I didn’t know what to do next when a flash of brown caught my eye. He was back on our street standing in the middle of the road looking at our neighbor who stopped and was talking to him.

“I think he wants a ride,” she said laughing, as she caught sight of my towel-wrapped hair, my daughter’s flip flops and my husband’s sweat suit and sleepy eyes.

I guess Hank was done with his run because he happily jumped into the back seat, completely disregarding the mud on his feet as he landed all 80 pounds onto the cloth seats.

I don’t think he could quite understand how mad we all were and how much trouble he was in.

But there were those big, brown eyes looking at me.
“If you want to exercise that’s fine, but the next time you run, just pack your bags and keep going,” I grumbled.
I’m not really sure he understood the message, but I’ve got his suitcase ready just in case.

(Jamie Baker-Nantz is editor of the Grant County News. She can be reached at 859-824-3343 or by email at jbakernantz@grantky.com)