Friday, August 29, 2014

Let's Play!

I don't know why, but it is so much harder to be motivated to wake up early in the morning to walk than to run.

Maybe it's knowing that it's not really enough of a workout for Henri and he's still going to have a lot of energy in the evening. Yeah, he's going to bring me toy after toy, wanting to play fetch and tug and keep away. He's going to squeak the toy, hit me with the toy and poke me with his nose. So, why am I taking him for a walk in the morning if it does no good?

Because he appreciates it! He gives me post-walk cuddles. He rolls around on the floor, licks my legs and asks for belly rubs. Maybe he knows that I want to run, too, I just can't yet. Maybe this is his way of saying that he wants to run, but he'll be patient...or at least try to be patient. In the meantime, LET'S PLAY!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pooch to 5k

So, you want to run with your dog. Where do you start? I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here. There are a lot of online resources and tips for running with your dog and training your dog. Some people might like to start with training. Some people might like to feel like they can handle running themselves first. 

I didn't really think about all of these things when Henri and I started. I just grabbed a leash and went out the door. It had been a rainy day or a few rainy days. I knew the park would be muddy and it didn't really sound that fun to give Henri a bath or slosh through the mud myself. 

I wasn't much of a runner. I'd been running a little on the treadmill at the gym before we got Henri. I was attempting to do the Couch to 5k training plan, but it seemed to be taking me awhile to build up the way I was supposed to be able to. I never could figure out the breathing thing. I still don't know if I've got the breathing thing figured out.

So, what did I do? We started walking and I picked a point on the walk that I would start running by, knowing that I usually started running on the treadmill after two minutes. I focused on trying to keep a steady pace and picked another spot where I could stop running and walk again. Sometimes I made it. Sometimes I did not. I did this over and over until we got back home. The thing was that Henri didn't care about all that. He was outside, running, working his brain. He had to focus on me to know when we were slowing down and speeding up again. This was probably the best thing for us because we learned together. It worked him physically and mentally.

Since it worked out so well the first time, I started taking him more, on days that I couldn't take him to the park because it was too muddy or it was getting too late. I would try to go farther than the previous run before slowing to a walk. Our schedule was sporadic, but eventually I was about to run the whole time. So, it was similar to the Couch to 5k plan, I just went by landmarks for distance instead of time, and I had an extremely motivating running partner.

The good news is that you can make your own path. You and your dog are a team and can work together to make it all happen. You don't have to run fast. You don't have to run far. You decide together what is going to work for the two of you.

More good news is that there is actually a "Pooch to 5k" training program! Can you believe it? It's at, you guessed it, This is a great website I found while fishing around for other people who run with their dogs. It has the training program, which is very similar to the Couch to 5k plan, as well as other health and fitness tips for your dogs. This is a great way to start running with your dog, especially if you are not a runner yourself. You can do learn together!

Henri is a good dog. He's never been to obedience class. He still doesn't know "heel" very well, but he has never tripped me. He just seems to get it. Not every dog is going to be like that and that's okay. I'm not saying it's nothing to be concerned about, I just want you to know that it's possible to run with a dog that doesn't get it all yet. Again, you know you and your dog best. Be safe. Be smart. Have fun!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Henri might be placing a classified ad to find himself a new running partner.

This morning we were on our walk and a runner went by us. Henri's ears perked up and he pulled on the leash. He tried to pick up the pace, but I had to hold him back as my foot already hurt a little. He watched longingly until the runner finally went out of view.

WANTED: Running Partner
Male, looking for a new running partner as my old one is broken. Don't worry, I didn't break her. I enjoy running early in the morning or whenever it's cool. I run outdoors since most gyms won't allow me membership. I'm willing to travel to different places to run, but I'd need a ride as I don't have a drivers license, I can't take the bus and bikes scare me. We can keep each other safe on our runs. You never know what you might find on the sidewalk that shouldn't be there. I'm a beginner, so I typically run 3 miles a day, but I think I could advance pretty easily if that's something you were interested in. I get slightly distracted by bunnies and I should probably tell you that I peed on my partner once. What? She's mine. If you are looking for a partner who can motivate and encourage you, I'm for you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Ugh! It's so hot and humid! We've been extremely lucky with the cool temps in the morning so far this year. This was the perfect summer for us to start this adventure. Sure, we've been MIA for a few weeks, but we probably wouldn't have been running most of these mornings, even if I hadn't hurt my ankle. It's just gross out!

Some dogs are really sensitive to heat (I'm talking about you, Henri!) and some don't seem to mind it, but it is always important to be aware of how your dog might feel, especially when running or playing outside. They won't always tell us (with words) how they are feeling. When it gets warmer we can opt for shorts and tanks, but our dogs always have a coat on. If we are hot and tired, they are more hot and tired. So, in that spirit, here are some tips for spending time with your dog outdoors, walking, running or playing:

Think about the time of day you are spending outside. Henri and I go running early in the morning. We've had a lot of luck avoiding the heat. Even the evenings can take awhile to cool off once the sun goes down, so Henri prefers the morning to the evenings, but both are good options for beating the heat.

Water is important. This goes for both of you. Sometimes you might need to take a water bottle or travel bowl with you so that you can take a break and re-hydrate. Water will keep your pups body temperature down, preventing heat stroke. We come across a water fountain for humans and furry friends during our run, but Henri isn't interested in stopping there. I try to get Henri to drink before we go on a run and once we get home I tell him to 'get a drink'. We use this command at the dog park, too, especially after a good play. Henri also likes ice cubes. If he doesn't want a drink, he'll usually take an ice cube. Problem solved!

Take a break. Speaking of breaks, make sure you are letting your dog sufficiently rest during or between activity. No matter what level of activity you are engaging it, it's always harder in heat. Move into a shaded area, drink that water and breathe. You both deserve it.

Cool products. There are many products to help keep your pup cool while outside in the heat. They have cooling collars and vests, which you wet and place on your dog to keep their body temperatures down. There are also cooling mats if you're spending more time outside and need a cool spot for pup to settle into. Then there are always good, old-fashioned hoses, sprinklers and pools to splash around in after a good workout.

"Listen" to your dog. Henri is a sissy when it comes to heat. I know this. I know this because he tells me. When he says he has had enough of the heat, we get out of the heat. Sure, I want him to play and burn off some of his energy, but I do not want to force him, especially if he's uncomfortable. Some dogs are not like Henri and don't know how to say enough is enough. You have to be more conscious of these dogs and know when to call it. You know them best!

Remember when I posted that picture of Henri's sweaty paw print and said I didn't know they sweat from their paws? Now I know that is THE place they sweat from. It doesn't cool them down as much as our sweating does, so they pant, expelling the extra hot air. Pay attention to your dogs panting and drooling. Heavy panting and drooling is a sign that they are overheating and need to cool down. 

Dogs don't cool down as fast as we do. Make sure to get them water, wet their paws or place a cool wet towel around their neck. A dog's main artery starts in their neck. This is a good way to cool down the entire body. 

If you notice your dog panting or drooling excessively, if their gums are pale or bright red or tongue turns red, they seem unresponsive, disorientated, uncoordinated or collapse, vomit or have diarrhea, these are all signs of heat stroke. Starting cooling your dog down and contact your vet. Heat stroke happens with a dog's body temperature rises, usually between 104-110 degrees Fahrenheit, causing blood to thicken, putting strain on the heart and decreasing the amount of blood circulating to vital organs. Make sure to contact your vet! Cooling your dogs body down too rapidly can cause it to go into shock, causing more problems.

Yikes! The best thing to do is prevent all of this from happening. What's that they say? "Prevention is the best medicine." They also say "Knowledge is power." Remember this? :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wake Up, Hug Your Dog

Last Wednesday was the busiest day at the dog park last week. We saw more dogs that day than any of the other days. Henri was especially interested in playing with three that showed up towards the end of our visit. Their names were Norman, Lyric and Jackson. Lyric and Jackson were Australian Shepards. Norman was a mutt of some kind. He was older and didn't see very well. He moved like my old boy, Kota. I liked him. Henri liked him. He played with him the most, even though Norman didn't play back tons. Turns out Norman and Jackson were both ten years old. I never would have guessed that. Their momma said that Norman lived a rough life while Jackson lived a couch life. Jackson was really playful, but he was kept on a leash that day. I believe she said Lyric was four years old and playful as well, of course. They didn't stay long as the bugs were bad, but we enjoyed the visit.

Friday afternoon I saw on Facebook that there had been an apartment fire and the dogs, plus a cat, had been home. All the dogs had been rushed to the emergency vet for smoke inhalation and some injuries. Norman and Lyric didn't make it. Jackson had to stay for observation, but seemed to be doing okay. He went home on Sunday. The cat had been missing, but was found the day following the fire. Even though we'd only just met them, it was extremely sad.

It's just a reminder to live each day to the fullest, and to give our animals the most love we can possibly give them. Take them for a walk or a run or to the park. Give them a treat just for being cute. Play fetch as many times as they bring you the ball. Cuddle them when they beg for attention by rolling on their backs. We just don't know how long they will be with us. (Uh, forever, of course. Stop talking like that!) They are such a blessing to us, we can only hope to make their lives half as good as they make ours!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pool Weather!

It is finally the hot and humid summer that us mid-westerners know and are familiar with. Now that Henri has gone swimming and enjoyed wading into the water, I took this opportunity to fill up the kiddie pool. Henri got a new ball in his BarkBox this week. It bounces on water. I thought maybe he would enjoy playing with it on a hot summers day. 

No such luck. He did paw at the water in an attempt to will the ball closer to him without having to run all the way around the pool, but that was about as much as he was going to do. He tried to gently grab the fabric of the ball to lift it out of the water, but that wasn't working the best. He eventually submerged his nose to get a better grip on the ball, but only if he had to.  

At least he was stimulated, trying to figure out how to get the ball without going in the water. He did play for about a half an hour. I thought about putting his life vest on him, just to see if that made a difference to him since it seemed to make a little difference when he went swimming. I gave up instead. Maybe we'll just go backwards; go big to small. If you learn to love the lake, then maybe you'll love the pool. Maybe you'll eventually even love the sprinkler.

What a strange boy he is.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday

We're hoping to be running again soon, but I have to listen to my ankle to know if I can start walking and building back up next week. 

I did pull out this picture, which I think was one of our first runs. It's from February 13th, 2009. Henri was not even a year old yet.

This was pre-running leash, pre-harness, pre-glow collar, simple go out and get some exercise. I think we'd gone on a few runs before this, maybe in the fall or in December. It's weird to think that we could even go running in the winter at all, but that was a mild year. 

Look at that face! Who wouldn't be encouraged by that?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What a Difference a Day Makes

Today we have a happy Henri! Last week he was a little sad and depressed, not being able to get out and go anywhere. He had a lot of pent up energy and he didn't know what to do with it. Now we have this:

I know, he kinda looks like he always does, but that's the point! He wasn't like this last week! And I can't really show him much happier without the pictures being the blurs of the previous post. Anyway, I'm glad to see him like this and our daily trips to the dog park will continue tomorrow.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Foggy Day At The Park

Seeing as how I am still under doctors orders to maintain a low level of activity, this morning we went to the dog park to get Henri some much needed exercise. He was so happy to run, run fast and run far. He would zig and zag as he brought the tennis ball back, making his own game of it. I know he runs fast, but it's so easy to forget just how fast until you see the explosions of energy. It will be nice when it's cool enough for him to enjoy the park during normal hours, not just the early mornings.

I would have enjoyed running this morning. There was a heavy fog that lended itself to an atmosphere and a mood that I think I would enjoy running in. It was good for an early morning trip to the dog park as well. I'll get another chance to run in the fog. Today was the day for this fuzzy face to have some fun.

"Throw the ball! Just throw the ball! I'm ready! Throw the ball!" (Not sure why I'm blurry. I wasn't moving that fast.)

This is how most of the pictures turned out. All part of zig-zag game.

"Oh, hai!"

Look! You can see him now. Exercise complete.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A New Workout

I feel so bad for Henri. After I come home from work, my ankle is so swollen, I feel like I really just need to sit with my foot propped up. I would take him for a walk, but I shouldn't be doing that just yet. I'd take him to the dog park, but heat aside, if I find a place to sit, Henri will just sit with me, not run and play. If I stand someplace and he's running and playing, chances are I'll find myself on my butt from his duck and weave game. Plus the uneven ground...not yet. Not for me. 

I wish there was something that we could do that would be safe for my ankle and give Henri a workout.

Okay, it may not be "safe" for my ankle...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hello, Doctor.

I caved. I went to convenient care today after work. People were talking about torn tendons and in my light headedness (because that stuff makes me feel like passing out), I decided to go.

They took some x-rays, even though I can rotate my ankle just fine and I was trying to avoid paying for them. There are no breaks or fractures. He kinda acted like it was hardly sprained. I knew it! Stupid stories and swelling, making me second guess myself.

I can't run for two weeks. I need to wear a brace or wrap it. Then I can start walking, then jogging and then running, still wearing a brace, for at least six weeks. Good, because I just signed up for a color run in just about six weeks!

Poor Henri. It sounds like it's going to be getting hot again so trips to the dog park are still out. Maybe next week the swelling will be gone and I can take him before work, instead of our runs.

Just two weeks, Buddy. Two weeks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Prop and Pout

Fine. I won't go on a run, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I thought I would maybe just take today off. I thought most of the swelling would be gone and tomorrow I could go on a slow jog or at least a walk. I don't think that's going to happen, or at least should happen.

My ankle feels fine, it's the rest of my leg that hurts now, from gimping around. My ankle is still pretty swollen. I will not post a picture because some people don't like to look at that stuff, me included. I hate when I'm scrolling through Facebook and suddenly there is a picture of a wound that I did not want to see in my feed. Besides, I think it looks worse than it is. (Stubborn, see?) I can rotate it. I can put pressure on it. I am going to continue to ice it and if the swelling hasn't gone down by Friday, I'll go to the doctor. It hasn't even been 48 hours yet!

Henri can't even cuddle up to me like he normally does because that's the ankle he always leans and rest his head on. Curses! Now we're both pouting.

You should hear the sighs that are coming from him.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Supermoon, Full Moon

I really wanted to go for run this morning. No, not because I was really pumped about working out, but because last night was the Supermoon. That meant that it would still be out when we went running this morning, if only for a little while since it was one of our later days. The Supermoon has some significance for us. We met Henri for the first time on the day of the Supermoon, which is pretty suiting as I thought about it this morning as everyone calls him 'The Wolf-dog'. We gave him the middle name of 'Olin' because of the band, 'Olin and the Moon'. 

Of course, I should have known better than to go running on the full moon.

My biggest fear right now is getting hurt while running, especially since I go running so early and not very many people are around. I have my phone and my husband is usually awake at home, which I'm not very far from. I'm just afraid that I'll trip or roll my ankle and be hurt. Ew, I shudder just thinking about it, it bothers me that much. I'll fall or worse, pass out, which is a thing for me. All the while, Henri is attached to me, which I guess is better than him being able to run away and get lost or hit by a car, not that I think he would leave me. Maybe he would be like Lassie and run to get help. Anyway, I try not to think about it too much. I figure that if I'm thinking about it, it's more likely to happen.

Yeah, it happened. I don't really know how it happened. We were coming up on a guy walking his dog. I think I was focusing on what he was doing, how close we were to him, when I was going to have to get on the grass to pass him...I don't know. Somehow, around the same time he turned, saw us and decided to move off the path, I must have decided to go in the grass. I think I just stepped off wrong or something, I don't even know. I still don't want to think about it. I've done the same thing walking! I just stepped wrong and my ankle turned. (Oh sure! When the guy is looking at me!) I ran a few more steps and started to walk instead, limping from the pain. It wasn't bad, thankfully, but you never know with me what's going to set off my passing out reflex. At least somebody was there. Of all the mornings for my husband to not be at home!

I didn't pass out. I didn't fall over. I walked it off. After awhile I was able to run a little again. I did that at the part that Henri and I usually sprint, because he was slightly confused why we were going so slow. I'm kinda glad I did because around the corner, up ahead was a guy running with two dogs. Not that it matters, but now I was a girl running with my dog, not just walking her dog. Don't worry! I was fine! He had more than six legs! He should definitely join my club!

So, full moon. Yep.

My ankle is fine. I've iced it since being home. I've kept it elevated. I'll ice it some more at work, just to be on the safe side. It might be a little swollen, but it hardly hurts. We'll see about tomorrow though. I am pretty stubborn.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why so sad?

I let Henri out this morning and I could feel it was misting a little. When he came in, he was pretty damp. I didn't want to get stuck out in the rain, so I went back to bed. 

I say "I" because Henri did not come to bed. I could hear him whining downstairs. I was pretty sure he was not that sad we weren't going on a run. He probably just wanted to eat, but I wasn't going to feed him at 4:30 in the morning. That's just too early. 

He continued to whine. I could hear him shuffling around. I had jut giving him a new toy last night so I thought he was playing and maybe frustrated that he hadn't been able to tear it up yet. Soon I hear a plastic bag and I figure it out. I had a stash of toys I had bought for him on clearance, occasionally giving him a new one to switch things up and they were cheaper so it didn't matter as much if he did tear them up in 10 minutes. I had moved the bag from the top of the refrigerator to a drawer in the hallway. It's one of those fabric drawers. He had pulled it open and was trying to get to the toys. I don't know how he does that! He hadn't seen me move the bag. Needless to say, I got up and took the bag and put it back on top of the refrigerator. He was fine after that.

I never did hear it rain. When I got up at 6am, it didn't look like it had rained. I felt kind of guilty for not going on a run after all. I shouldn't have. I didn't know it wasn't going to pour. The forecast had been for rain in the morning. Stupid forecasts. I played with Henri and his new toy for the best amount of time I could before I had to go to work.

And then we went for a run after I got off work.

We had a little of that midwest humidity to deal with, but the wind was blowing and we can feel that on the edge of town. We kept it at an easy pace so that Henri wasn't miserable. His tongue was hanging out, but I think he enjoyed the sights. People were out, kids were playing and other dogs were being walked. And, because the sun was out (sort of), I was able to take a picture!

Cute, huh? Well, it was still hot.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Dangers of Running With Your Dog

When you think of running with your dog, there are several things that immediately come to mind as dangers and things you want to avoid. These might even keep you from running with your dog. What are these dangers? Your dog might run right in front of you and you trip. Your dog might run around you and you get tangled in the leash, and trip. You dog might see a rabbit and pull you halfway across the block, especially if your hands- free.

I am actually more worried about tripping over my own feet, than Henri, but that's me. I'm usually pretty good at reading Henri and knowing what he is thinking or what he has his eye on while running. This morning he did something that totally shocked and surprised me. We were running and he suddenly stopped and hiked his leg. I can usually read when he's thinking about doing this, but he really doesn't do it very often. He knows we are on a run and this is not "marking" time, but, again, if he does this, I know it's coming and slow for a second. We really don't stop. 

He stopped, in the middle of the sidewalk, hiked his leg and peed. No, he didn't need to mark a blade of grass because he didn't pee in that direction. He peed in MY direction! He peed on me! I ran right through it! I had to focus on my breathing because I was trying not to laugh too hard and it's 5 o'clock in the morning. Who is this crazy person running and laughing in our neighborhood? I'm going to say that I needed to be marked as his for some reason that I don't know or understand. Why on earth did he do that?

So, add one more danger to running with you dog. I hope this doesn't keep you from running with yours! He still didn't trip me!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Special Thank You

Our post-run routine is this:

Fight Henri to get his harness off (He hates it going over his head)
Feed Henri (Because he'll die if you don't feed him that minute)
Get my water and sit outside on the back step
Henri comes out to get his vitamin from me (Vitamins are important!)
Henri goes back inside to get a drink of water and lick his bowl (In case he missed anything)
Henri comes back outside and sits on the step with me

I've been sitting outside after the run since the second week. Henri has only just decided to join me in the past few weeks, but it's consistent now. We sit and let the cool breeze run over us. I give him a little shoulder rub and we watch the sun come up and the clouds go by. Well, he might be watching the birds.

This morning, I got this: 

"Thanks for the run!"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Failure to Launch

How ironic that yesterdays blog post was Great Bright Morning and this morning, it was raining. It also seems like yesterday's blog post might not have posted successfully, so I have to post it again, on a day that was not great and least not in the early AM. Also, ironic.

I have a back-up plan for when it rains and we are not able to run, aside from writing about not being able to run, but since yesterday failed to post and posted as today, I want to save that. The forecast is rain all week, so we'll see what happens.

Great Bright Morning

There's nothing like the right song to help motivate you, especially on Monday morning.

Monday's are hard to get motivated for in general. Add in an early morning run, ugh, I'd rather stay in bed. I don't. I've never been the type to hit the snooze. The alarm goes off, I get up. No fooling around. It's time to go on our run. Henri follows me from room to room as I get ready, waiting till we go downstairs. All the good stuff happens downstairs. Food. Outside. Going somewhere.

I don't know if it's having the weekend off, if it's the fact that it's dark outside or if it's just a case of the Monday's, but it's hard. We get up earlier than we need to, just to catch the early morning air, which today was a good thing because you could feel the humidity that would come with the day. We do intervals on Monday, too. I thought it would be best to do them the first run of the week, before my muscles have a chance to protest. My muscles know it's Monday, too. 

Thankfully, Henri did not seem to care that it was Monday. He was ready. He was focused. We came across a balloon that had lost it's helium and was now laying on the sidewalk. Henri doesn't like things that are not supposed to be there. He slowed down, but once I told him it was okay to go, he sped right past it. (He hardly hesitated at all on the way back by - so proud of him!)

Intervals started and a Casey Abrams song came on my iPod.

"We go into this Great bright morning,
Leave the rest of this world behind.
We're fallin' into this bright morning
You and I
You and I."

It was perfect. The sun was just coming up. There was no one else out. It was like a soundtrack, narrating that particular part of our movie. It helped me push past the Monday blahs and run. My iPod knows me so well.

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Dog is My...

My dog is my...

When you start that sentence, how do you finish it? There are a million different ways to describe the relationship you have with your dog. Each dog is unique. Each relationship with your dog is unique. Each life you share with your dog is unique.

Ruffwear poses this question and invites you to share your answers via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #mydogismy. This week they had a photo contest in which you answered that question with a photo of your dog. Henri and I have entered with the following picture.

My dog is my running partner. He is my motivation. He is my cheerleader. He is my support. He is my trainer. He is my coach. And that's just when we're running. I can't even begin to try to describe our relationship when we're not running!

The lives we share with our dogs are special. I am amazed at how much I love this dog and how that love seems to grow in leaps and bounds. I hope that I am able to adequately share that love and appreciation through this blog. I hope that at some point there will be a community of us, sharing and exchanging our own "Happy Tails" with each other, encouraging, laughing and enjoying our dogs together.

You can see the other photo contest entries here