After a couple of laps I fell in stride with another dog walker named Wes. Wes is a senior citizen, a very large man. His doctor has ordered him to "get some weight off". So he is walking his two adorable long hair dachshunds, Oscar and Joe. Their short little legs have to work hard and it is getting hot, so he gives them breaks. Both dogs walk with him at once until one gets tired. Then one pup takes a rest inside the truck and the other gets 1:1 time with Wes. Used to he would leave his pups on their leash and let them get water and rest in the shade under his truck. They liked the shade and the outside air. This was their routine for a long time.
As we started our third lap, Wes stopped, took a rock from that pile I had noticed, and moved it to the top of another flat post. Wes explained that every time he completes a lap he moves a rock from one post to the other. So....when all the rocks have been moved to the second post, he has finished his 9 laps. Pretty smart I thought. Each lap is 1/3 mile so he is taking a 3 mile walk! I was impressed. Oh, and then he tells me he does this 3 times a day! Yep....so he is walking 9 miles a day with his dogs and sometimes with a new friend like me.
Wes lost 35 pounds the first year he did this. His doctor was delighted.
But...one day while Wes was walking Oscar... and his other dog, Max, was resting underneath the truck, two big dogs attacked little Max. By the time Wes got to the truck to rescue Max, it was too late. In rage and grief Wes got his gun out of the truck and shot the two offending dogs. Pretty scary stuff! I hate guns. Period. But that's what he did. And I can understand why.
A court battle followed, grief continued, and Wes did not walk anymore. He stayed home in his chair. He felt guilty. He grieved Max. He ate. He got bigger and bigger and gained all his weight back and even more. He became depressed and just didn't care.
Fast forward a year and now he is back here at the park walking again. He has once again worked up to walking 3 miles at a time, 3 times a day and moving the rocks from one post to the next. He has a new pup, Joe. When his pups rest they stay inside the truck where it is safe.
The moral of the story? Well, life knocks us down every now and then. Often we bring it on ourselves but we never realize it at the time. Then, of course, we are at choice. Continue to grieve, sit, eat, drink, withdraw, blame, harbor anger, get sicker. Or, like Wes, we can make a different choice. If an old, lonely, grieving fat guy like Wes can manage to forgive, get off his butt, and start all over again to enjoy the day and his life, so can we.