It is barely dawn and we’re heading out for our morning walk. My travels may require an umbrella, boots and sometimes microspikes or snowshoes. Whatever the footwear, I will always have treats in my pocket. Not for me, but for my sweet canine companion, Abby.

Abby is our 16 year-old English setter who brings joy to our lives every day. She came to us from Illinois Birddog Rescue in Chicago. This very sweet girl spent most of her midwest life tied to a tree, isolated away from the other dogs. We found our way to each other a decade ago on, and after we made a long drive to Columbus, Ohio to pick her up, she became part of our family.

The rewards of walking with Abby far outweigh the energy it takes to step outside on a dark, damp morning.

I am a dog lover and always have been. The pure joy dogs bring to my life is immeasurable. I will often share stories of Abby antics and her pathetic start in life with my patients. We chose this breed because we wanted an active dog to be part of our active lives. Flossy, our first setter, hiked, biked, skied and walked with us daily on mountain and woodland trails. This breed requires activity and companionship. (Just like us!) English setters have a very soft disposition and soulful eyes that burn right to the heart. My day always begins with a meditative walk with Abby, a practice that keeps me feeling grounded and grateful. The sunrise, songbird trills, smells and sights of the forest in every season are a lovely way to contemplate matters of the head and heart.

In our home, its all about Abby. Fortunately, I have been able to weave my work schedules around our senior dog’s needs. There are days that I would rather stay inside with my cup of tea, but Abby will have none of that. The rewards of walking with Abby far outweigh the energy it takes to step outside on a dark, damp morning. Even at age 95 in dog years, Abby’s excitement and joy while hunting in the woods is inspirational.

If you are looking for a way to increase your heart rate and daily steps on your fitbit, or just enjoy nature and companionship, look to your local shelter and consider adopting a dog. We are so lucky to have their unconditional love and company. It’s hard to be a lazy couch potato when you have a dog.

The big question is who is rescuing whom?

~ Donna Lannan, PT


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4 thoughts on “All About Abby: When the Four-Legged Inspires the Two-Legged

  • February 22, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Sweet story, Donna–there WILL be a dog in my future!

  • February 23, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Such a great example of a physical activity that connects mind, body, and soul. I love how so many animal routines help to keep me moving….walking the dogs, cleaning out chicken coops, lifting bales of hay for the sheep.

  • February 23, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Donna, your tribute to Abby is also a testament to your ability to be a role model for all of us. Having known both Abby and Flossy as your former neighbor, I can attest that every word in this post is authentic. Get outside!!

  • February 25, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Love this article Donna ! I have two greyhounds that make sure I have at least three walks a day


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