The New Year got away from me, but I had to post the best one-arm strength workout I've ever done, courtesy of a special Christmas gift from my youngest daughter, Zara, a gift not to me, but to the dogs of the Maricopa County Animal Shelter in Mesa.
The "workout" story starts with my wife, who sits on the Board of the Companion Animal Association of Arizona, a nonprofit that provides social pet therapy primarily to the elderly and disabled. At a recent event, they brought in the founder of East Side Elves to speak about how they got started and what they do to support animals in the shelter. Every Sunday, the all volunteer "Elves" are out in force washing the huge amount of dirty blankets for the ~300+ pet shelter so that the shelter pets can keep warm and clean.
Zara was so moved by this story and the need that she asked all of her friends and relatives to give her money for Christmas instead of gifts. On Saturday, December 30th, she brought the cash to the East Side Elves ... and there was much rejoicing.
It was during that visit that we learned about yet another organization dedicated to helping these pooches, Hope Whispers, a group that organizes walks of the dogs in the shelter so they can stretch their legs, smell the grass and escape the cacophony of the kennel. On New Year's Eve morning, we all went down and spent a little over two hours walking dogs, taking each one out for about 20-30 minutes.
My "one arm dog drill" came from these words I said when they were taking me in to get the first dog, "I'm a big guy, so I can handle a big strong dog."
I am a big guy. I do have two big dogs at home, but I have never had my arm pulled so hard as that morning. Each dog that I took out - Brigham, Luther, Regal and Steven (pictured above) - was beyond excited to get out and, particularly with Big Steve, demanding to walk, but still a joy. Towards the end of each walk, they each started to get a bit more mellow, a bit more in control. It was a super fun morning and we'll be going back later this month to do it all again.