In April of 2008, I was in a pretty serious car accident. While riding in the passenger seat, a truck slammed, full-speed, into my side of the car. When the EMT arrived on the scene, she stuck her head in through the opening (that formerly held a window), and said, “This side airbag right here saved your life.”
Since then, I’m in chronic pain every day. I’ve seen a myriad of physical therapists, chiropractors, and even went through several rounds of spinal injections. Each morning, I have to strategically hoist myself out of bed. I waddle downstairs and shove four pain pills into my mouth. At times, I walk into the bathroom and throw up, because the pain is so intense.
My partner and I adopted a dog in 2010. He’s a Corgi–Pit Bull mix. He’s the light of my life and my best buddy. We changed his shelter-given name of Grant to Rocket, when we took him to the park and he shot off with his stubby legs like a gazelle. My life, in so many ways, revolves around this dog. He defines my schedule. He sits next to me while I’m working, makes a ridiculous face, and talks via moans and groans when I’m not paying him enough attention. Each night, I give him a 20-minute deep muscle massage. We recently purchased a new car because it would better facilitate Rocket and is easier to clean. I have even been reluctant to apply for or move forward with full-time job offers, because they would require me to be away from Rocket too long throughout the day.
Our favorite thing to do together is a take long walk at a local, off-leash dog park. Not only does he get to meet and play with other dogs, he is able to run off some of his pent-up energy. I, in turn, get exercise I’m severely lacking, enjoy the beautiful California landscape, and meet many delightful dog parents along the way. It’s a win-win. But this is when we actually make it to the park, which isn’t as often as I’d like (5-6 days a week). Admittedly and ashamedly, there are days the pain inhibits my will to venture to the dog park. Instead, I take Rocket on a leisurely walk around the neighborhood (feeling guilty the entire time, and feeling as though I’m failing him). I even resorted to paying a dog walker to take Rocket on a long hike every week with a small group of his dog friends.
I jumped on the opportunity to use Whistle. This activity monitor could become my way to be fully accountable for my own action (or lack thereof). While I attempt to lie to myself on particular days, and tell myself a shorter walk is fine, Whistle will not lie. The results will be right there, clear as day on my smart phone — for all to see (me, my partner, and my vet). Yes folks, it’s about to get real.
When we brought Rocket home from the shelter, I told myself I would give this goofy dog the best life imaginable. And while friends say he has it made, in all truthfulness I haven’t provided him the proper exercise he deserves. This is going to change.
I’m going to write a series of articles about our progress. I really hope this experience brings our family closer, and makes Rocket even happier and healthier.