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Casper Critters

Spring into Excersize

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03/01/2010 - By Gayle M. Irwin

The end of winter is just around the corner (we hope!), and many of us are looking forward to longer, warmer days, greening grass, and blooming flowers. As the days lengthen and the temperatures moderate (sometimes!), we can help our dogs and ourselves be more healthy by getting outdoors and exercising.

Exercise is important for our dog's health as it is for our own, and living with a dog can help us be more diligent in our daily exercise. Many dogs, especially those of the herding and hunting breeds, need activity to keep them not only physically healthy, but also from becoming bored. Without exercise and activity, a dog can become destructive, chewing on furniture or digging up the yard or carpet. Depending upon the type and personality of your dog, a romp in the park, a few throws of the ball, a couple of chases of the Frisbee, or even a meandering around the neighborhood all add up to a healthier, happier dog. Some dogs, like the toys breeds, don't necessarily need lots of activity; a simple walk around the block will suffice. Either way, an hour or two of playing fetch or a short jaunt around the neighborhood, adds up to a more enjoyable day for your pooch and for yourself!

Fresh air, sunshine, fragrances of tulips and daffodils, listening to birds singing the great outdoors is calling to us and our dogs this spring! Allow your dog some extra time in your fenced backyard to drink in the sights, smells, and feelings of the new season. Spend time out in that yard with your dog, enjoying your pet's company and tossing a toy around for amusement.

Walk your dog in the park or around your neighborhood. Walking is great exercise for both human and animal, and partaking of spring's flavorful sights and sounds stimulates the mind as well as the muscles in both you and your dog. A simple stroll or a long, leisurely walk benefits your physical and emotional health and your dog's as well.

Perhaps running is more your sport. Many dogs, such as labs and border collies, also benefit from a jog or run. These types of dogs need more active exercise than a short walk around the block, and the companionship you'll share on such an outing with your dog helps cement the dog-human bond. Hook your pet's leash to your waist and head on out there!

Casper is fortunate to have wonderful walking and running paths and great parks for playing Frisbee or throwing a ball. Enjoy these special places with your four-footed friend this spring!

Cabin fever strikes us all, and the coming of spring helps alleviate some of that by providing extra daylight, extra sunshine, and extra-stimulating fragrances. So, get outdoors with your dog this month and help ring in the new season of spring you'll both feel better for it!


Gayle Irwin is an author and speaker with a deep affection and concern for pets. She is the author of two children's books: Sage's Big Adventure (2007) and Sage Learns to Share (2009). She is also a speaker in local schools as well as a former journalist and humane and conservation educator. Her publication credits include a story Chicken Soup for the Soul: Lessons Learned from the Dog. She is the proud "pet parent" of two adopted dogs, who serve as characters in her books. For more information about her writing and speaking, visit www.sagestory.com and www.gaylemirwin.com.

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