Chico is 8 today

My little buddy, Chico, is 8 today. His sire is expecting his final litter today as he has been neutered and no longer has to work for his living.

Chico remains the best exercise machine I ever owned.

Chico! 8 weeks old. The day he became part of our family and my personal trainer!

I shop a lot at Chico’s, but I didn’t name my dog after my favorite clothing store. Their sizing, however, is genius! I wear size 1 jeans … but I digress….

I have been a Pitbull fan for years and considered naming him Pitbull, but it just wasn’t an appropriate name for an adorable Mini Schnauzer.Pitbull (before he became Mr. Worldwide) used to refer to himself as “Dat lil CHICO, Pitbull.”

Dat Li’l Chico Pitbull performing at 6 Flags in Springfield, MA. He was just Mr 305 back then, and had yet blown up to his current Mr. Worldwide status.

My daughter suggested Chico for my puppy’s name and it fit!

Chico is more than just a canine companion to me. He is an important part of my weight loss maintenance program. Exercise to lose weight isn’t as necessary as it is  to maintain a weight loss. Having Chico around makes exercise a natural and fun part, actually quite a large part, of my day – everyday.

Studies show that a gym membership may not increase physical activity. It’s not uncommon for people to workout at the gym and then increase their sedentary behavior because they already “worked out today.” That would be me.

It’s reported that 90% of treadmills in the home are still in use five years after purchase…. They’re in use as a clothes rack. That would be mine.

I don’t know if there are any formal studies looking at how dogs change a sedentary lifestyle, but if my experience is typical then it’s a forgone conclusion. Dog(s) = lots of physical activityI don’t have a fenced-in yard. Chico likes to run and play. To keep Chico safe I have to run and play with him.

Running and playing with Chico makes it much easier to balance calories in and out. It takes less attention. He can’t get his exercise without forcing me to get mine too. Thousands of my calories are burned thanks to this tiny dog that weighs only about 14 pounds.

I get my 10,000 steps everyday no matter the weather.

Sometimes it’s strengthening exercise with special emphasis on my upper body because Chico loves nothing more than chasing seagulls and cormorants on the sandbar.

Chico gives me his special look to let me know he needs something. I call it the “monkey eye.” Monkey eyes are when he comes up to me and stares hard and won’t let up at me to let me know he wants to go outside to walk and play. If I try to ignore the monkey eyes he adds trembling to emphasize the urgency.

The monkey eyes and he won’t stop staring until he gets the walk or playtime he wants.

Today is dedicated to celebrating Chico’s birthday. He will get extra walks and chances to GLEEFULLY run away with my shoe while I chase after him.

Still a puppy. 8-year-old Chico begins his birthday by stealing my brand new flipflop


I will spend the day doing all the things he loves.



We will take several long walks and I will let him sniff every sniffable thing to his heart’s content. At low tide we will get into the Boston Whaler and I’ll row over to the sandbar where he’s free to dig, run, and chase sea birds.

For dinner I will sprinkle some extra burger in his kibble.

Happy Birthday, Chico. And here’s to many more.
Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.