Rescued by a Rescue

Adopted dog inspires owner who strayed from good habits
Illustration by Sierra Thomas

I had no idea at the time, but the 8-month-old, big, gray dog we were heading to Tampa to adopt would lead me down a path to fitness.

That is, the rescue, a Weimaraner named Roxy, would make my Apple Watch’s built-in fitness app relevant. The app consists of three rings you try to close every day by achieving goals you set for yourself.

The move ring (red) is a goal based on calories burned, which I set at 860 a day. The exercise ring (green) is preset at 30 minutes per day, which is where I left it. The stand ring (blue) tracks whether you stand and move at least a minute per hour during at least 12 hours in a day.

Fitness goals had never been much of a priority for me in the past, but with Roxy, sedentariness would not be an option. Roxy demanded we exercise her, frequently. She is sculpted from the most stubborn dog clay. She has to be worn out every day if we are to enjoy even 30 minutes of uninterrupted time.

In such a way, a fitness streak was born.

Next thing you know, I had closed all three rings daily for a month. I was feeling better and made a conscious decision to eat healthier foods or at least more appropriate portions. I set and reached a goal of 100 consecutive three-ring days.

Maybe I could reach a full year! Was that crazy? I didn’t think so. Was it realistic? Probably not. But heck, 2020 was a year like no other. Maybe I could flip the craziness on its head and do the unthinkable stick with an exercise goal and see it through.

I was almost desperate to close those three little rings every day. It felt important, and it was something I could control during a time when so many things seemed out of our control. And, it wasn’t as if Roxy ever would be inclined to take a day off.

I had hoped at the time of writing this story that my fitness streak would still be intact. Unfortunately, it came to an end in November when I was consumed by the process of buying a home.

I went to bed exhausted one night, and before dropping off to sleep, I noticed that the red ring wasn’t quite closed. I told myself the watch would record the calories I would burn while sleeping, but no. I missed my move goal by 26 calories. Twenty-six.

Imagine drawing a circle, but before you connect the ends together you stop short, leaving the ends ever so slightly apart — as if only a sheet of paper could fit in the gap. When I discovered the next morning I missed my daily move goal by such a tiny margin, I blurted out a few savory words and spent the remainder of the day sulking.

I felt sick.

Strangely, something that never meant much to me at all was now tearing me up inside. The psychological impact of closing those rings was more than I ever would have thought possible. A curse on Apple! 

The good news is, I lost 15 pounds during a stressful time period in which I was on track to gain the “quarantine 15” due to poor eating habits and a lack of getting out of the house.

I now know that I can sustain a fitness challenge simply by going on long walks and jogs with Roxy. And on rainy days, I substitute workouts in the garage using my Bosu ball and some small weights.

With Roxy as my fitness partner, I will definitely be starting up a new streak again soon.

The rings must be closed.  

Categories: Fitness, Wellness