So we have these two really goofy dumb dogs and they are young and also dumb.

We both work full time and the children have entered that stage where they are slugs with electronic gadgetry. If we are lucky, we can get them to exit their rooms once daily to grunt sullenly at us before racing back up the stairs to clasp their precious Nintendo Switches to their bosoms once again. So the dogs don’t get the exercise they should be getting, except that we do send them to doggy daycare twice weekly and I take them to the off leash park sometimes.

The dog park has a half-mile gravel track going around it and the dogs can roam as they please while the humans walk the track. There are a variety of types of people who come to the park: the snooty fast walkers who don’t make eye contact and are wearing earbuds, the older folk who have old dogs that shamble along slowly, the talkative sort, the awkward middle aged guys who don’t know how to make small talk, the super into-it Dog People festooned in all the gear with the Chuck-It and the belt pouch of treats, etc.

I just try to show up with a) the dogs and b) my shoes on the right feet.

I myself have a love/hate relationship with the track. After the Accidental Splits Debacle at Winco about three and a half years ago, in which my left semimembranosis muscle slipped its surly bonds and became one with the rest of my leg muscles (detached and retracted, scarring into the back of my leg) I have been somewhat more hobbled than I was already, and I was already hobbled pretty comprehensively. The muscle I lost is the one that draws your foot backward, as in the movement you make when wiping your feet on a doormat. This movement is also used when walking; you just don’t really notice it because you’re focused on moving the one leg forward and not so much on what the other leg is doing — but walking is really a pushme-pullyou action. Often when walking my hip muscles spasm painfully after the equivalent of a couple of blocks because of the alteration in my gait.

Between the loss of this muscle, the extreme flatness of my feet, and the arthritis in pretty much every joint from the knees down, I’m not much for walking. My portliness didn’t help, as evidenced by the fact that now that I’ve lost fifty pounds I can walk the track much more easily.

In the past I could barely make it once around the track. If I had someone with me to talk to, was talking on the phone or (rarely) listening to a podcast or audiobook, I could sometimes make two laps around, but it was uncommon. (Distraction is a proven pain management tool)

Today I took the dogs to the park and walked two laps around without any drama. Some spasming, but not too bad. I didn’t have anyone with me and I wasn’t listening to anything. I just walked.

Life is pretty good and gets better by the day.

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