Our personal trainer

Tomorrow is National Puppy Day. Seems like an appropriate time to dust off this column from several years back.

My family discovered the secret to consistent exercise: a physical trainer. We found one that combines the best qualities of world-famous trainers, such as the friendliness of Lou Ferrigno, the single-mindedness of Jillian Michaels, and the manic energy of Richard Simmons. She is a black and white Beagle/Australian cattle dog named Aggie.

Let’s be honest. It is a big temptation to catch a few extra winks instead of getting up and working out in the morning. Aggie has removed this temptation by running into our bedroom and making a Ringling Brothers worthy flying leap onto our bed at 6 am every morning. (Don’t ask me how she knows what time it is, she just does.) My wife and I have given up on the tactic of burrowing deeper under the blankets on sleepy mornings because Aggie has made it abundantly clear that she will find us. Also, the puppy does not have a snooze button. But even if she did, would anyone really use a snooze button on something that could potentially poop on the floor? (Clock manufacturers take note.)

I haven’t had much success with resolutions or fitness clubs. Once I received a gym membership for my birthday, but the place mysteriously burnt to the ground a few days later. I swear I had nothing to do with that. But Aggie doesn’t take excuses. Lest we forget that this is exercise time, she barks at our heels the moment we step out of bed. This continues as we get dressed, use the bathroom, put on the coffee, and place the lead on her.

Our ears ringing, we step into the Arcadian splendor that is our neighborhood. This is where Aggie, the personal trainer, really shines. She has her own unique spin on cardiovascular exercise, which alternates the human heart between workout and resting rates-often in the same block. She drags us quickly by houses with mean dogs (just long enough to get out a warning bark) and then slows us down or brings us to a complete halt at houses with friendly dogs. When a squirrel crosses our path, we get quite the heart endurance test and a good muscle workout trying to retain hold of her leash.

This has got me thinking. Other people could get on this puppy physical trainer bandwagon, too. Just imagine the economic boon to Warren if it became a trend. The proximity of the Humane Society to the YMCA could find everyone getting a puppy with a one-year family membership. How could it miss?

Ian Eastman, M.A. promotes the wellbeing of our community at Family Services of Warren County. “Like” its page on Facebook for great tips about happy and healthy living.