Just wanted to dedicate this post to my first running partner. His name was Joey and he was a black lab. We got him as a family dog when I was 16 years old, the moment that I started being more serious about running. He was the greatest running partner ever, always happy to see you and full of energy.
As I got out of bed in the morning and ran downstairs to his crate to wake him up for our run, he was already up, wagging his tail and ready to go. As I arrived back from school, he was there, happy to see me and would go get the leash for me for us to go for a run. Yes, you have read right, we used to do one or two short runs every day (2X4kilometres).
He was fit, he was athletic and enjoyed playing soccer in the back yard after a run. I would practice doing soccer drills and he was there to test my abilities to keep the ball at my feet. When we were not playing soccer, we were playing fetch.
When we moved to Wakefield, the longest that we have run together was 15 kilometres and he was just there, keeping on running. After that, he truly enjoyed swimming in the river. He could spend hours, jumping from the deck into the water. I would play count down games in order for him to jump in. His face was priceless as he looked at me almost shaking with excitement to jump in the water especially when I threw his toy in the water and he had to wait for the count down. All of his life, he loved swimming so much that in order for him to really follow us home, we had to put the leash on.
The one thing that he also enjoyed was when I would put him on my shoulders and squat with him on my back. He would just stay there and every time I was done squatting he would wag his tail into my face. Every time that I would sit down and put my legs in a “V” position, he would just lay down and put his head on my lap and just stay with me. He was also a great pillow when we were resting on the kitchen floors.
He was a good loving dog and he was my training partner in both running and strength training for a really long time. I had to stop squatting with him on my back when he got closer to 10-11 years old because his hips started to become a bit more sensitive. He became my father’s training partner at approximately 8-9 years old and later. At 10 years old, he was still good at running in trails in the winter and I could go without a leash and his record for the 6 kilometres trail was close to 27 min, not bad for a 10-year-old dog to hit 4min30 kilometres.
June 30th 2017 at 18:00…was the day that Joey was put down…He could no longer run and had trouble walking because he was in pain, he could not hear anything anymore and his vision was going. People and animals come and go in life. Although it may be sad that they go, what is important is that we appreciate that they were part of a chapter in our lives. I am who I am partially because of that dog. I love running because he put a purpose to my running at first. My goal was to take care of my dog and keep him healthy and in shape.
I wish that I could have given him some bacon before he passed and spent more time with him. Time flies, appreciate every moment that you have with your dog, your cat, your horse, your friends and make the most of it. Happy trails, happy training and may the wind be at your back!