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My Australian Shepherd Viggo is one happy dog, now that my
foot injury is healing and I’m able to take him running again. I’ve been doing
the majority of my run training in the pool the past several weeks, and the
water simply doesn’t suit his taste – plus I imagine I’d lose my gym membership
if I tried to bring him along on my wet laps!
It’s such a joy to tire Viggo out to the point where he
lounges around, smiling and exhausted, for the remainder of the day. I feel
like I’m a great dog-mom when I can give him that gift – especially when his
legs re-enact his run during his doggie dreams. He’s honestly not much of an
endurance junkie, but prefers short sprints, interrupted by brief explorations
in the tall grass and muddy irrigation ditches alongside the trails where we
run. I take him on runs that range anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour – that
seems to be his quitting point, so my longer runs are done solo or with a human
friend. Viggo, though, is most certainly my favorite running partner, as he
helps me connect with the pure joy of sprinting about, free from the usual
tethers of his leash and my responsibilities.
We obviously don’t speak on our runs, aside from an
occasional “Good boy!” bit of praise when he resists the urge to
over-enthusiastically greet fellow runners with his muddy paws and sloppy
tongue. Otherwise, we simply enjoy the sound of our breathing, the gorgeous
vistas, the fresh mountain air and the beating sun. And afterward, as Viggo
flops down in the shade next to his water dish while I take a few minutes to
stretch, knowing glances pass between us, acknowledging our shared experience
and utter contentment. For me, there’s no better way to enjoy a run.
What about all of you – who are your favorite training
partners, be they animal or human? What makes them special?
– Holly Bennett