The Jane Fondas of Pet Exercise, Warren and Fay Eckstein, Think Even Birds Should Do It
updated 11/26/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/26/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST
His two gerbils (who are still alive) also get exercised. He puts them in hollow, clear plastic balls and watches them roll around burning up those calories. Eckstein says aerobics can also enhance a pet's relationship with his master: "By working out together, you really learn to be friends."
Eckstein, who has a college degree in psychology but is not a veterinarian, has worked with 22,000 animals in a 16-year career. "Most people don't listen to their animals," says Eckstein, who has trained dogs for Lily Tomlin, David Letterman and Cheryl Tiegs. "But I sit down and talk to them. It's amazing the answers you get back."
At their home in Oceanside, N.Y. and their farm near Albany, N.Y., the Ecksteins are never lonely for animal chatter. With seven dogs, 26 rabbits, three ducks, three chickens, a guinea pig, one hamster, two pigs, four birds, the gerbils and countless cats, "our bed gets pretty crowded," says Fay laughing. Both husband and wife believe that pet aerobics could be America's next fitness craze. "In the 1960s John F. Kennedy said that the American public was out of shape and that people had better do something about it," says Eckstein. "Now we're saying the same thing about pets."