Everyone loves puppies, right? Our family has been involved with and passionate about animal rescue for many years. We have donated, fostered, adopted and volunteered. Just before Christmas this year, we got a notification from the Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue that they needed fosters. We frequently get these notifications and every so often will foster if the situation is right. With 4 dogs in our household already, fostering can be a challenge. On this particular link, I saw a group of puppies being brought in from Missouri and for whatever reason, I promptly hit reply and told them we would love to foster a puppy. It had been years since we cared for a puppy. All of our dogs were adopted after they were at least one year but fostering gives us a chance to get our puppy fix. Then along comes Shira, our foster. Tall and lanky, and at 20 pounds, she’s a big puppy. We all fell in love instantly and quickly started to figure out a way for us to adopt her ourselves. With four dogs already, this wasn’t going to happen, but one can dream.
A few days into her stay here, it was evident she was 100% puppy. Constantly looking for something to chew on, including our couch, carpet or table, or trying to coerce one of our four dogs to play. After the arrival of Shira, our dogs aged before our eyes. Our 4 dogs ranging in age from 6-10 were suddenly seniors in comparison. Our dogs who simply lay in the sun, occasionally wrestle and love a leisurely walk or hike, now seemed incredibly lazy. Shira had so much energy and so much desire to get into mischief, as a puppy should. I started walking her. A lot. We went on at least 2 walks a day, totaling anywhere from 90 minutes to over 2 hours. She loved her walks and I could tell she was getting into a routine, excitedly waiting for me to put on my walking shoes every morning. What we noticed after introducing her to regular exercise was that in the hours in between walks, she was calm. She was happy and content to lay in her bed (or the bed she took over from my dogs) and chew on a toy. One she was supposed to have. I’ve always been an advocate for regular exercise for dogs. All dogs need to get out of the house, explore, use their muscles and stimulate their mind. What I saw in Shira was what a transformative effect it had. I’ve always known that exercise can calm separation anxiety and destructive behavior and overall produce a more content being and now I had seen first hand.
Take your dog for a walk. Or a run. Or a hike. They do so much for us and are always ready to welcome us home and provide unconditional love. What they want most in return is love and adventure.