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The other day at the dog park, a woman asked me an interesting question. She is the owner of a beautiful Samoyed, a high-energy working breed that developed in Siberia. She said: “Do you ever regret getting a high-energy breed?” The way she asked it implied that that she sometimes did regret it. I asked, and she said yes, sometimes it would be nice to have a dog that would just lie around the house. She said she took her dog on long hikes on the weekends and he went running with her, in addition to coming to the park every morning but he still a lot to handle.

I told her that I agreed it would be nice to have a dog with lower exercise needs sometimes. But the thing is, for the most part, I don’t regret getting a high-energy dog. Chris and I did a lot of research and thinking before we got Zara and we wanted an active breed. We wanted to do activities outdoors with our puppy and to have her be a companion on runs and hikes. While she is a handful sometimes, her sweet personality and love of cuddling more than make up for the work required to tire her out each day. She is so friendly, so gentle, so smart, and so loving and of course, so freaking cute.

As long as we exercise her properly, she is pretty calm at home. On the weekends, if we go to the dog park in the morning and take a hike in the afternoon, she’ll lay on the couch all evening. During the week, getting enough exercise is a little harder, but we take her to the dog park almost every morning and evening. I was telling someone else at the park the other day that we visit it twice a day (sometimes even three times if I’m working at home and we come during lunch) and they were shocked. Unless it is pouring down rain, we are there. And can you blame us? We could go for a long walk or play games of fetch or tug of war in house, but going to the dog park and having her run around with other dogs or at least chase tennis balls is the easiest and most time-efficient way of tiring her out. We are also very lucky to live within walking distance of the dog park, although we usually drive over to save time. Once we can start running with her, we will decrease our trips to the dog park.

So, in short, I really can’t imagine having another type of dog. She is quirky and needy, but she’s our baby.