Have Puppy, Will Run!

Posted on March 22, 2013



Some of you (a very few) may remember that one of my first posts was about training my new puppy, Oliver the Great, to run. You may also have noticed, that there haven’t been any more successful posts about running with Oliver.  He got a few brief mentions; at the end of this post for eating my headphones, and here, where I begin to realize he isn’t the track star I was hoping for. He even got a little shout out in the top of my first weigh in post, and he photo-bombed my marathon outfit post.

I had very high hopes that Oliver would be a running partner dream, but after many ridiculous failed attempts at training runs, I had to let him go for my marathon training.  He had become extremely trepidatious of the run away from the house, especially concerning passing cyclists, and worse, street crossings.  At our main intersection where the Tobacco Trail crosses Woodcroft Parkway, he would lie on his back in the middle of the street, and roll his shoulders forward, crossing his arms, successively Houdini-ing himself out of his well fitted harness.  I would have to pick him up and carry him.  He would also dig his paws into the gravel and pull against me, all his loose face skin piling up around him and making him look pretty ridiculous, although I never told him to his face.

This would go on in phases for the outward portion of the run, him digging in, me picking him up, him laying on the ground, passersby asking if we were okay, and did we need any help. Me, jogging, carrying a fifty-so pound pup in my arms.  My reply to the concerned was always, “Wait until you see us on the return trip.”  Our first mile was anywhere from 17-32 minutes, and our last was closer to 6.

As soon as we would hit the turnaround in our out-and-back venture, Oliver would haul ‘you know what’ in the direction of home.  He would drag me, terrified, making it appear as if I were on rollerblades. But no, those were my feet struggling to keep me perpendicular while being pulled at the speed of light by the Wonderdog. More than once I had people, who were concerned about his health and mental stability on the outward trip, laughing out loud at us on the homeward bound portion of the run.

There came the time when I just had to continue solo, promising that once my training was over, I would dedicate myself to getting this dog trained to run. Which brings us to now.

I completed my first post-marathon run yesterday, 4 days after the big 26.2. I know people say to wait 2 weeks, blah blah blah, but I am positive I had a leg up on recovery due to my non acid forming diet, for which I will have to dedicate another post.  As a matter of fact, I was ready to run the next day.  (Eat vegetables, people.)

So since I figured I’d better not push it, I told my husband, “Taking Oliver out for a training run, it’s time. I hope we can get a mile in, wish me luck!” He knew exactly what I was in for, and agreed it was time, and wished me luck in earnest. That moose of ours needs an energy outlet which only becoming a distance runner is going to be able to give him, so his well-being throughout his doggy life depended upon my being able to infuse within him the joy and discipline of running.

He usually began resisting and pulling as soon as he realized we were leaving the yard without anyone else.  Oftentimes in the past, we never made it off our own street. THIS TIME, however, as soon as our yard was no longer underfoot, OLIVER BEGAN BOOKING! He really did!  He let me lead the direction, but as soon as it was clear which way we were going,  he just wildly and gleefully went for it!  Luckily, my training has helped increase my speed a good bit, because boy, we were flying, and since  he is a whole lot stronger than me, he’s gonna be setting the pace.  He had a few spells of major ground sniffs, of which I obliged, he deserved it. He took the sniffing very seriously,as if he were on the case. Allowing for those to add about 2 minutes to each mile, we still made a 9:30 pace for 3 miles. When we weren’t sniffing, my man, we WERE flying.  I think this was the happiest I’d ever seen my little buddy, and he is a happy guy.

I couldn’t be happier than to know that Oliver is going to be okay in this big world, getting in the exercise he so desperately needs. Now that he is almost a full grown dog, at 9 1/2 months, He is more able to handle the physical demands and responsibility of being a good runner. And I feel more secure knowing that Running won’t leave me out, not when Oliver is on board to keep me going. Thanks, Buddy. You’ve made all my dreams come true. I’m a happy Mommy.

If you never want to let your running shoes collect dust, do yourself and a good dog a favor and adopt a rescue pet. It will save both of your lives and hearts!

Happy Running Out There!