This time of the year, something happens to my dog. Now, she’s never been the most energetic pup on the planet, but she’s typically pretty active and is always up for an adventure, be it hiking along the river or chasing a neighbor’s cat. But something’s gotten into her lately — for the past couple of weeks it’s been a challenge to get her beyond the air-conditioned comfort of home.
Sadie’s exercise used to consist of ten-mile runs over mountainous terrain. Sure, she’d lollygag on the steepest climbs and cut all the switchbacks, but like me, she loved the feeling of running free in the woods. Anytime she saw me lace up my running shoes, she’d follow me around like I had a choice cut of sirloin in my pocket.
Over the years, she’s slowed down, much to my dismay, and she officially retired last spring when the vet diagnosed arthritis and prescribed anti-inflammatories. But she’s still been an outdoorsy sort of pooch. I mean, she has to be, right? We live in the mountains of Asheville, run trails and drive a Subaru, so that makes us an active family. An energetic dog is part of the mix. An accessory, like the roof rack and the Chacos.
Apparently Sadie isn’t aware of her prescribed role in the family – or maybe she just doesn’t care. She still rises at dawn with me, but now when she sees me grab my sneakers, her big move is from the bedroom to the kitchen. After breakfast, she retires to the living room, where she settles beneath the ceiling fan and awaits my return. Now and then she wanders over to the door and looks out. Checks her bowl to see if some Alpo has magically appeared. Sometime mid-afternoon, she might mosey out to the front porch to see what’s going on in the neighborhood, then she returns inside, this time back to the bedroom for her afternoon siesta.
Now don’t get me wrong – she’s not completely slothful. She does raise her head to glance at me as I enter or exit a room. And sometimes she even picks up a bone to gnaw on for a few minutes before slumber beckons again. But for the most part, she appears determined to conserve her energy and to get those much-needed twenty hours of beauty sleep. The pattern that began in May will no doubt continue through September, when cool breezes once again grace our home.
As I prepare to go for what will undoubtedly be a sweatfest of a run in 90-degree heat, I take another look at Sadie. She does look awfully relaxed as she reclines on the cool tile of the kitchen floor. Maybe she’s onto something.