Kirby, part of our PoochieLife community, recently shared her story with us about her family dog Henry, who made her a better person by living his life whole-heartedly and fearlessly exerting himself.
“I lived with my brother and mom at the time we got Henry. My brother really wanted an English Bulldog. I mentioned this to my boss one day, and she told me her dentist had an English Bulldog up for adoption. We went to see Henry and took him home that night. Before then, we had always had cats and didn’t quite know how to take care of dogs, so Henry became aggressive over time. But we weren’t going to give up on him; he was family. We put Henry in training, and his trainers told us “this dog is a working dog. He wants a job”. So, we started walking Henry for about 3 miles every single day. Blizzards were about the only thing that stopped us. If it was going to be a killer-hot day, I’d get up early and walk him in the cool of the morning. If it was cold or rainy, we’d bundle up.
After walking that much every day, you get tired of the old neighborhood, so we sought out new places to hike. Henry wasn’t afraid of anything; he would immediately tackle steep hills, mountains, rivers and new places. I taught Henry to swim in the rivers (bulldogs don’t really swim, but he did). After tiring him out, he’d plop down on the floor and be happy and relaxed for the rest of the day. If we didn’t get around to exercising him, he would shake and shiver with tension, so we really dedicated ourselves to walking without fail.
Henry was with us for eight years; he lived a good life. But so did we. I was focused on taking care of him and meeting his needs, but after walking 3 miles or more every day for 5 plus years, that became something I needed too. We all walked Henry—he was a family dog—but after we lost him, we all stopped walking. I discovered that I needed it: to get outside in the fresh air and not be stagnant in life. For me, Henry taught me that lesson. Being out in the sun and the elements was refreshing and relaxing, not just for Henry, but for me too, and our walks gave me more energy for the day. My brother, mom and I still send pictures and memories of him back and forth, to keep his spirit alive. He was really a legendary dog, amazingly fearless and driven.”
See Kirby’s video dedicated to Henry here.
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