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A Cure for Couchitus

Sandy Boyle 04/03/2018

Let me out, I want water, let me in, rub my back, FEED ME, chase me, SQUIRREL!  Yep, you got my drift, get a puppy!

If laying on the couch is your issue, you’re hurting yourself.  Lack of movement equals muscle atrophy and the worsening of your MS symptoms.  No, I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV… jokejoke.  If you have capabilities beyond laying on the couch, the best thing you can do for our ridiculous condition (MS), is to get a puppy.

I retired and find myself on the couch wayyyy more than I ever thought I ever would be.  My goodness are puppies ever a pain in the butt, but boy oh boy, my legs are much stronger now.  I just wanted to lay there… just me and the remote.  Puppies refuse to let you have your sedentary ways.

I have an older dog- 13 in human years, 91 in canine  years.  She’s more the speed I’m equipped for these days… or so I thought.  In walks my daughter with a nine month old miniature beagle.  You’ve gotta be kidding me!  Good luck trying to ignore a whining little puppy who wants what she wants when she wants it.  Last time I experience this was when my daughter was an infant over 20 years ago.  Now I deal with her daughter who happens to be a miniature beagle.

My daughter’s in college, pops in & out between classes and to get her laundry I’ve washed and folded for her.  She lives here, eats here, showers here, but she’s a daughter back-and-forth between college, job hunting, work, friends, and whatever social life someone in their early 20s has.  So who’s taking care of the dogs?  Mwah!

Oh did I mention that the older dog I have is also hers?   However, since I’m the one that takes care of her and trained her, I’m the one she listens to. I also had to train the rambunctious little beagle NOT do the bad stuff on the carpet, to stop chewing all the squishy things, the get off-my-couch, and to not bite my fingers when offered lunch meat… Etc.  OBTW, none of the above is done in the sitting position on the couch.

Keep in mind that the puppy has trained me too.  This dog is obsessed to-the-nines with the laser pen!  My daughter got her hooked on that.  I can’t even walk next to the cabinet where it’s stored without her body posturing in the stalking/freezing position.  Get it! Get it! Get it!  Schnitzskies, if I don’t respond to her panicked whines and pleas, I’ll never get to hear the antiques roadshow and how much that’s item is worth! So, getting up I must do.

There are perks to the puppy. She has removed years of age from my older lab. Our tug-of-war play with the now mutilated string braided rope has me moving and tickles me pink.   I suggested naming the dog Twister- I lost.  She spins, runs, jumps, and does her laps around the coffee table as she wants to be chased- not that I can run.  But I can at least make her think I’m chasing her. More importantly, I’m up and Not on the couch.  She has me moving all the time.

The biggest surprising perk of the puppy is the two dogs are connected at the hip so-to-speak.   Well, more like hip to knee.  Just watching them snuggle up together is adorable.  I even get up to cover them with a blanket or tuck them in.  The site of those two and how connected they are to each other calms me.  So there’s another plus for getting a puppy.  We all need as much good MoJo as we can get.   Good calming warm fuzzy feelings- good for the soul.   I would even suggest, if you don’t have any dogs, go to your local pet rescue and get a puppy and a mature dog. You will see the same transformation I am trying to convince you of right now.  They make you move more.  You’ll feel obligated to take care of them which will require you to tend to their needs.

The more you lay on the couch, the more sedentary and atrophy you bring on yourself.  Something happens mentally in that process that almost tells you I’m on the way out or on a downward spiral.  The same way this puppy took years off of my 91-year-old dog, is the same way she has removed so much of my sedentary existence, my feelings of defeat, and a settling for the demise of this disease.  I was surprised to find the puppy reversed all of the above.

The physical strength I gained from tending to this demanding little puppy turned me onto all sorts of other beneficial movements.   During commercials, or just walking through the house, I stop and do deep knee bends for no reason except to prove to myself that I can do it and that it will benefit me strength-wise.   I’m not kidding, get you a puppy.  It will get you off the couch and it will train you that you can do far more than you think you can.  Yipe Yipe, SQUIRREL!!!

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