Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Personal Cheerleader

My butt hurts. This is because at the end of November, I decided I was a runner. And if I was a runner, than I had better start running. Seriously, that was my thought process.

I've tried to take up running before, and it’s never stuck. I have asthma and a bum knee and it’s cold out or it’s hot out, and then I realized that dude – I’m not getting any younger here. As I get older, I’m only going to get more decrepit and come up with more excuses, so if I want to cross “run a 5K” off my bucket list, I had better get going.

I've gone running now with each of my dogs, and it turns out that it takes more than a sound body to make a good running partner. All of my dogs are relatively athletic, but Maus, for example, believes that running is for people who can’t walk. Rubi is also a pain in the ass (figuratively, this time) to run with as she has only two speeds: “pee on everything” and “as if we’re being chased by zombie velociraptors with AIDs.”

Photo by Paige

As should shock none of you who know her, Piper Ann is my favorite dog to run with. Piper doesn't get a lot of blog time by virtue of being the Good One. There’s nothing I've asked of her that she hasn't given me everything she’s got and then some. We've done rally, obedience, therapy work, hiking trips - anything I’m interested in, she’s game for. Piper Ann is a reminder to me what I could do with a dog if I could just stop adopting the crazies.

Not that I don’t love my crazies.

But it’s nice to go out with a dog and not have to obsess about people or other dogs or thresholds or weird objects or volume control.

There’s more to it than just good behavior, though; Piper an is an excellent cheerleader. I've been roughly following the Couch-to-5K running program. This program involves doing sets of running where you run for a certain distance and then walk for a certain distance and then run some more and so on. Piper Ann never seems disappointed when we have to walk – she’s spent most of her life walking and hiking with me. But every time we start running, she throws me a party: she play bows, spins in a circle, prances a bit, spins in another circle, and then settles into an easy, happy, trot. 

My favorite treat, though, is those rare occasions when we get to run with Piper off leash. Then when we start running, she bows, spins, and sprints out about forty feet in front of me, nubbin of a tail tucked and nose in the air as if there were a prize for most ridiculous run. She stops and bows, grinning and panting. She freezes, vibrating with excitement, nubbin in the air, until I catch up and bow to her. Piper jumps into the air, spins in a circle, runs in a circle, runs around me, bolts another forty feet, play bows, and waits. Repeat until I forget that my brain is almost as numb as my feet, my knee aches, my butt hurts, and my lungs feel like they've been donkey-kicked by a moose.

There's no moral or metaphor to this post. I thought I would at least strongly dislike running, and it turns out that I don't. It actually makes me feel a little invincible. I mean, if I have the mental fortitude to go jogging when it's four degrees Fahrenheit out, what can't I do? Piper helps me be invincible. She makes me feel like a better person. It's good, you know, when you've got a friend like that.


  1. Finding the right dog running buddy is tough! Mina hates jogging, period. Celeste is great, though - on leash she stays right by my side, off leash she zooms back and forth to check in.

    I am not particularly a fan of jogging/running, but I always feel better and happier when I do it consistently.

    Squishes to Piper!

  2. Oh my gosh, total boxer face in that last pic! Haha love it. Good for you for starting running again. I know it's been hard for me to get back into the swing of things, but I'm trying my damndest.

  3. I love this post! As I love all of them. And as I love Piper Ann. Good for you for running and good for her for cheering you on!

  4. i have to say that everytime i come here and read your posts, every single time, i finish with a smile.
    Not always of joy, sometimes a rather wry one, but today, its a huge one!
    Thank you.