This post by Lazy Girl Fitness is so resonant. I am no fitness gal, rather the opposite, having suffered from a limiting autoimmune condition since childhood, physical exercise fills me with dread and associations of pain. But I do try to keep as well as I can, and exercise has always been a constant uphill effort for me. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars in all kinds of things just to keep fit – individual pilates sessions (because I cannot bear being in a room with 10 other sweeting bodies), gym memberships, aqua fitness gear (which worked wonders after a severe flare up of arthritis) and supplements etc. They yielded results, yes, but at considerable cost to pocket and mental-physical effort. Ever since Lucy came into my life, I have been walking far more than I ever have done before. And guess what, the arthritis is now well under control. I haven’t had a major flare since I began walking with Lucy. And no agonising over the effort either. Just as Lazy Girl (Jess) put it, “your ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ excuses just won’t cut it” ! So, we Just Do It!
Lucy is much more than just exercise to me, she is an ‘everything puppy’ – and I do know Lazy Girl agrees, because her lovely Lou is one of Lucy’s favourite friends in the neighbourhood. He is the handsomest staffy in Paddo, and is a very much adored furbaby to his human parents too.
To me, my Lucy is… Cuddle Pup. Beautiful Princess. Haptic Live Installation. Assistance Dog. Furbaby. Best Companion. Black Velvet Angel. LucyLou is Like a Charm (and that was her racing name!). She is in every part of my day and night, and my best companion. For an autistic person who values independence and personal space, getting a dog is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And Lucy is perfect for me too. She is not a barky-yappy puppy. She only barks a very very little, or makes funny greyhound clicking noises, when she wants to tell me something specific. And even then, the decibel levels never approach anything like all the other doggy communications that I have ever known. She is gentle and almost never has jerky sudden movements – unless she is startled, and even then, for a greyhound, she is incredibly calm and her recovery from sudden sounds is amazingly quick. She is also a natural clean freak – she hates mud, muddy wet grass, too tall grass and skips aside when she encounters poop of any kind! When she does a poo, she quickly leaves the scene and strains at the leash to ‘get away’ while I pick up her poo. It is a routine now, I always have to comfort her and say, “Wait for mummy, I’m picking up baby’s poo!” and she calms down, but stands as far as the leash allows, waiting for me to pick the offensive material up!
The temperatures have fallen. Lucy and I are feeling the cold now, but thankfully, Sydney never really becomes too chilly. The sunshine helps a lot too. It has been nice and sunny lately. While sitting at the drafty reception table during my exhibition, I noticed that Lucy didn’t shake off the blankie I placed over her, and that was a sign to this clueless human that the Princess was feeling cold. Now we’re home, I tried the same with her in the evening, placing the blankie on her when she is curled up. She doesn’t shake it off, so I figured, ok she is cold. Yes, humans can be quite stupid really. So, I made her a snoodie necked PJ. It is still not cold enough to have the PJs on all night, because she sleeps with me in bed, we share a very warm down feather quilt, and we keep each other warm by cuddling up occasionally.
And she loves sweet potato. We share the last sweet potato cubes last night. She had hers plain – just boiled – and I had mine with gula melaka sauce. She is the best dinner partner!
I recommend a companion dog to ANYONE, but I especially recommend one to people of any age with autism. Of course, we need to teach the human and dog how to co-exist. I grew up with dogs, so it is inculcated in me from childhood. Yet, Lucy still amazes me. Always. Every day is a new day of more wonder with her.