This past week I got a frightening reminder of one of the best reasons to exercise.
Of course we’ve all heard the more common reasons – weight control, better sleep, stress reduction, improved health, more energy, etc. And as we get older, exercise is also crucial for maintaining the ability to do even simple, everyday things like picking up grandchildren, climbing stairs and so forth.
Like many people, I’d gotten away from active fitness training for many years. Yes, I walked every day and practiced qigong. I felt okay, but I knew something was missing. So for the past few months I’ve gotten back into a more intensive exercise regimen with a trainer named Dietrich Dejean at one of our local gyms.
I mention all of this because this past week I was reminded of how important fitness is for a reason besides all of those above… a reason we don’t always consider.
Here’s what happened…
Thursday afternoon I was walking my dog, Suzie, along one of the walking paths that go through my neighborhood. It was a nice day and I was enjoying the walk and the sunshine.
At one point I saw a couple ahead coming the other way. They were walking two Saint Bernard dogs. These were two of the largest dogs I’ve ever seen. If I had to guess, I’d say they were at least 150 pounds each.
The couple moved the dogs off to the side of the path, which I thought was odd since we pass dogs all the time while walking and it’s not usually a problem. Even so I didn’t think much about it.
As we passed by on the opposite side of the path, both Saint Bernards suddenly broke loose from their owners and without any provocation, attacked my dog. Understand that my dog is a 50-pound Australian Sheppard and is as sweet as any dog I’ve ever known. She was out-weighed by these two dogs about 6 to 1.
The next thing I knew I was in a battle to save my dog’s life.
As these two gigantic dogs attacked Suzie from two sides, I started kicking at the ribs of the dog closest to me while pulling her leash to get her away from the relentless biting of the Saint Bernards.
Suzie got away from them and ran around me with the two dogs close on her tail.
At that point I had the idea that if I could pick her up, I could get her away from these vicious dogs. As I tried to pick her up, I literally had to pull her out of the jaws of one of the attacking dogs.
Then we got lucky. Suzie ran around in front of me and the two Saint Bernards lunged at her between my legs. I clamped down on their necks by squeezing my legs together. I let Suzie’s leash go and shouted to her, “RUN!”
By the time she was 100 feet down the path the two owners had regained control of the Saint Bernards and I could let go of them from between my legs.
At that point I could have turned and confronted the owners, but in my mind the only important thing was to make sure Suzie was okay and safe. I walked to her down the path where she was waiting for me. The couple and the two Saint Bernards walked off the other way in the meanwhile.
I immediately took her to the closest veterinarian. Fortunately, Suzie’s injuries were limited to 3 puncture wounds and a fairly bad abrasion. She’s recovering and will be just fine.
The couple and their dogs are nowhere to be found. I’ve never seen any of them before in 10 years of walking these paths almost daily. If we do find out where they live we’ll be sending them the emergency vet bill. I think Animal Control would like to talk to them as well…
My point in mentioning this incident is just this – we don’t usually like to think about dealing with the unexpected. But at the same time, you never know when you’ll be faced with potentially life-threatening emergency.
If I hadn’t been working with Dietrich for the past four months, I seriously doubt that I would have been able to respond to this incident as well as I did.
Whether it’s getting yourself or a loved one out of a burning building, being able to help someone in distress or facing some other unpleasant surprise, being in shape is crucial for dealing with emergencies effectively.
Please use my experience to your advantage and make sure you’re as fit and in shape as you can be. Yes, it’s work. And yes, it takes a commitment of time and energy. But it may literally save your life or the life of someone you love.
All the best to you for your health and happiness,
P.S. – Dietrich Dejean is an exceptional trainer. He has a long list of certifications and experience to his credit and he really lives what he teaches. He works with people based on their current level of fitness, helping them to reach their unique fitness goals. I’m very happy with the work I’m doing with him and recommend him highly.
If you’re in Reno and would like to learn more about Dietrich’s unique approach to training for fitness, please go to his web sites – www.DTRFitness.net and www.DTRFitness.com. You can contact him directly at Dietrich@dtrfitness.net.