A Runner's Best Friend

By: Rachel Gibson

I'm not talking about Bodyglide, though that stuff certainly ranks highly on my "things I truly love" list.  I'm talking about our four-legged friends (likely of the canine persuasion) who may or may not accompany us on our runs. 

Side note:  When I moved here and began running in this beautiful park, one of the first things I noticed was this sign, whose wording caught me off guard: "Dogs and Other Animals Must Be On Leash."


Why add the term “and other animals”?  Why not just “dogs”?  There must have been someone, sometime, out there on the path with his pet hermit crab running free and unleashed, which just would not do. Therefore….the sign.  At least that's what I assume; I hear hermit crabs, when on the loose, are quite destructive.

A dog is a runner's best friend in Atlanta!

Anyway, back to our furry friends. Do you run with your dog?  If so, how far do you go? 

I've just recently started to bring my 7-year-old chocolate lab out with me.  She's a fantastic friend, but when I was a new runner I had a very difficult time trying to keep my breathing regular while she would stop, sniff, run after squirrels, and then resume trotting—it was incredibly frustrating!

While I perhaps should have spent the time training her to heel, I took the easy route and opted for solo runs…that is, until moving to a place where she can run off-leash (which she's very good at!) from the front door all the way to the entrance of the off-leash dog park a few miles down the road. 

And running with a pup? It's bliss. As we trek through the woods in the hillside of West Virginia she bounds ahead of me, turning around every 20 feet or so to make sure her oh-so-slow owner is not far behind.  She gives me a reason to run faster (granted, she's got two extra legs to rely on) and company that makes me happy to have out there with me.

Does your dog love to run with you?  Got a pic to submit?  Whether they're fast or slow, young or old, fluffy or scruffy, I'm a sucker for four-legged running buddies, have no doubt.

For more random blather, follow me on Twitter: @nomad_runner and check out my guest blogging experience over at:  http://info.georgiamarathon.com/blog/?Author=Rachel+Gibson !

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