Four-Legged Running Buddy

Everyone, I’d like you to meet my (very spoiled) dog, Skipper:

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Skipper has been part of our family for 3 years now.  We rescued him from Paws Atlanta in January of 2011 when he was just around a year old.  At the time, he had been in the shelter for about three months going through heart-worm treatment, after spending some time on the streets.  He was actually featured on the local news as the adoptable pet of the week–he was famous!!  When we got him, he was timid and skittish–it was very clear that he came from a rough background and had been abused.  Since then, he’s really come out of his shell, and is such a fun and loyal dog.  He’s a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix, but he’s really small–just under 50 lbs.  He looks like he’s about 9 months old and has the sad puppy dog eyes that will melt your heart (he knows how to get a treat out of me!).  Since he has Retriever in him, he just LOVES to play and run!

When I first started running, I’d sometimes take Skipper with me for the shorter runs.  Skipper doesn’t get as much exercise as we’d like, so I didn’t want to overdo it with him.  After the first couple times, he got REALLY excited every time I went to put on my running shoes and would dance in circles around me.  As my training mileage increased, I stopped taking him because I was afraid it’d be too much for him.  In addition, this was in the dead heat of Atlanta summer, and it was just too hot for him.  I’ve been wanting to take him again more recently, and this week I finally did!

This has been a tough week to fit in running.  I was able to squeeze in a good run Tuesday morning (3 miles!) but have had class and a lot of schoolwork after work each day this week.  Yesterday, I really wanted to get at least a short run in, and when I got home, Skipper had SO MUCH energy!  I went to put on my running shoes, and he danced around me.  I decided that it was cold enough, and my run would be short enough, to take Skipper along.  Since it had been awhile, I just did a loop around my house that is about a mile (with one really good hill in it).  This way, if Skipper got too tired, I could just drop him back off at the house.

So off we went.  I forgot how much fun it is to run with a dog…especially one that loves running.  It’s hard not to have fun with your buddy finds so much pure, raw, joy in it.  As soon as I started running Skipper tried to sprint and I definitely had to hold him back.  After about a quarter of a mile he remembered to pace himself…except for the hills.  Whenever we came to the hill, Skipper decided we were going to SPRINT up it.  I had no idea I was in for speed-work when we went out, but that’s exactly what we did.  He and I did 2 miles at around a 10 minute pace, and he still had plenty of energy at the end!  This is definitely going to become a weekly run for me.  Not only was it fun and short, but it’s good for Skipper, too.  Dogs need cardio just as much as humans!  I know there are some races out there you can do with your dog, and I’d love to be able to do a 5k with Skipper sometime in the future.

Below are a few photos of Skipper and I after our run.  Runner’s World Magazine is currently doing an Instagram contest for “Dogs on the Run”, so I submitted these.  Maybe Skipper will be famous again!

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Jess

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