Even my dog, Neo, needs to lose some weight. Ok, extra walks it is.
He was my great leveller. I could barely walk from Psoriatic Arthritis when I first decided to take this rescue boy on. People thought I was crazy and tried to talk me into giving him back.
I hobbled for the longest time, my muscles had atrophied and I could only walk from lamp post to lamp post. I felt like I had long red hot pokers rammed down the middle of my legs to my feet, and each step almost made me cry. It felt like wading through wet concrete and the fatigue waved over me like a relentless tsunami. My thigh muscles clumped into tight rubber bands on the side of my legs, needing physical therapy to release the knots.
I used to be so physically active. I swam, biked, ran, trained at the gym, was a marching girl for 16 years, played hockey, did ballroom and latin dancing competitively.
It’s weird that it took this dog to encourage me to do what I’d needed to do for years since becoming ill, like I didn’t believe I was good enough to do it for my own sake. I didn’t want to let this boy down. He looked at me with such love and trust that I was in complete control. I persevered. Day after day. Rain and shine.
I had to progress to cycling as he wasn’t getting enough of a work out as I painfully creeped along. The cycling has done wonders for my hips, the constant aching now an occasional thing. I’m not so walk-fit anymore, but my performance was very weather dependent and slow. I’m hoping that losing weight will change that for the good.
© Words & Photography by Paula M Cunniffe, New Zealand.
This article may be republished with permission from the author.
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