How my 185-pound buddy is improving my health

I recently fell in love with a great guy. I know they say that love can’t change people, but this guy has changed me. I’m happier, I’m healthier and I’m getting up earlier. I should probably mention that the guy is a six year-old St. Bernard.



Meet Clyde. I adopted him not long ago from a rescue society and since that time, he’s pretty much turned my house and my usual routines upside down. For starters, I’m a night owl. I can never get to sleep before midnight, and if I had my way, I wouldn’t go to bed until 1:00 or 2:00 am. Of course, this is a problem when my alarm goes off at 6:30 each morning. I start each day trying to broker deals with my alarm clock, suggesting that I could skip eating or showering if I could just sleep for ten more minutes. I am widely known for being a morning grump. As for you people who get up and exercise first thing in the morning? For your own safety, do not cross my path.

But now, I wake up at 5:30 am to the sweet face of Clyde and his wagging tail. He wants to “go walkies,” and how can I say no to that face? So we bundle up and head out. He sniffs things and gets exercise. I stumble around like a zombie, but also get exercise.

Look at the size of that nose! Of course he sniffs things!

Look at the size of that nose! Of course he sniffs things!

Clyde  weighs 185 pounds, so my leash-holding arm is getting much stronger. I should probably switch arms at some point or I’m going to look like a mutant version of Popeye. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation talking, but there is something kind of magical about the world in the early, early morning. It’s quiet and everything looks fresh. Possibly you early morning exercisers are onto something.

When I get home from work at night, I rush over to have Clyde snuggle time. He’s as big as I am, so he makes an excellent snuggling companion. He thumps his tail happily and the stress of my day melts away while I rub his giant ears and brush his underbelly, which has the surface area of a small apartment. Clyde eats a lot of food. I mean, seriously, he eats the gross domestic product of a small nation. But this is still the best and cheapest stress reduction program I’ve ever had.

Later, it’s time for another walk before bed. This walk is a long and vigorous one so that he’ll sleep through the night. We do a lot of hills, and by the end, I don’t know which one of us is panting harder. Having Clyde has added almost an hour of exercise to my day in a way that doesn’t even feel like exercise, it just feels like time spent with my buddy.

My gigantic, hairy, drooling, buddy who has absolutely improved my life! Maybe you need one too?

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