She never misses a run.
She always believes that I (we) can run father and faster than I do.
She refuses to let me ignore my alarm and sleep through a run.
She's able to shame me for walking or taking a water break with just a glance back at me.
She isn't much into the small talk on a run and just lets the miles speak for themselves.
She meets the last mile of any run with as much enthusiasm as the first mile and then looks forward to the next run.
She understands the importance of rest days, too.
She doesn't care if it's raining or cold or windy or hot or anything - if it's a run day, then it's a run day.
She loves barefoot running but doesn't judge me for taking some time to lace up my shoes and ready my playlist.
She understands that the real purpose of running is finding the joy in each step, something she does from the first step out the door.
She has Frito feet and velvet ears.
This is my running coach:
OK, so she's not really a "coach." But if it weren't for Zooey, I wouldn't be a runner. She's one of those "high energy" dogs - even at nearly 5 years old - who needs waaaaaaaaay more than a 30-minute walk each day. Once I discovered how much happier she seemed and how much calmer and (dare I say it?) how much more mellow she behaved after a good run, I knew I had to keep it up. Thank goodness I love it!
When my alarm goes off at 4:30 on run days, I am barely cognizant of it, much less moving, before Zooey has sprinted across the room to my side of the bed. If I don't move fast enough for her liking, she starts howling as a backup for that alarm. My husband loves it when that happens.
I'm under her watchful eye from that point until the leash comes into play. Have you ever tried to pee with an excited coonhound staring at you? I have.
On our runs, Zooey has the ability to sniff new bushes and telephone poles, to bark hello at possible new friends (of the 2- and 4-legged varieties), and to get that much needed exercise. I have the ability to have some me time, to listen to the music *I* want to listen to, and yes, to get that much-needed exercise.
|This face very nearly got a steak to assuage my guilt.|
I'm so grateful that Zooey came into our lives; not only is she quite possibly the best running companion ever, but, like most scent hounds, she also just loves being with her people, making her, in my estimation, the perfect dog for our family. She can go for ten miles with me (the farthest I've ever taken her) and then flop down to let HRH use her as a pillow during a multi-species nap time on the landing.
All she asks is for two square meals a day, plenty of ear scratches, and the occasional drink from the hose.
Coonhounds are not sprinters, even though they can outrun someone trying to chase them down easily; they were bred to track raccoons and similar quarry over many miles during a hunt. This makes them ideal running companions. I can go two miles or ten (maybe more - we haven't tried it yet) with Zooey, and she never lets me down. Like me, she sometimes needs to stop and rest and maybe have a sip of water, and I must take into account the fact that she's covered in black and tan fur, but still, she never lets me down. It's my responsibility, then, to make sure that I don't let her down, either.
(If you think a coonhound would be the perfect running companion for you, too, make sure that you research the breed (click here and here for a start), and please consider adopting a coonhound from a reputable rescue group - and please feel free to ask me for more information)
Do you run with a furry friend?