One long term goal, that I thought would be nice, was to have Ray as a running buddy. He was considered a “high energy” dog but his performance to date has been quite the opposite, and his claim to fame is more based on his ability to simply chill rather than any athletic performance! However, I do know that he is capable of running pretty fast, albeit for short periods of time, so getting him running would not appear to be a major challenge.
Another factor to be considered is that although I have run on and off for quite a few years, more recently my activity has been minimal. To complicate matters, I am not getting any younger (are any of us?) so I would need time for my body to adjust to running again. Clearly this would have to be a gradual adjustment for both of us!
Just recently, I decided to try and run him and see how he reacts. Initially he put up a little resistance but I suspect that was just a gesture of “What are you doing? We don’t do this. We walk!” In a matter of minutes he had found himself a fast trotting pace which worked quite well. There were a number of abrupt stops as he was distracted by an interesting scent but, in general, he seemed very happy at that pace.
I tried to pick up the pace and Ray responded appropriately for a few seconds but then he put the brakes on until I slowed down to his fast trot pace. Our whole outing was a mix of fast trotting, some walking, and some scent evaluating! I am hoping that if Ray can accept this as part of his new routine, then he will be more receptive to picking up the pace occasionally and who knows, I may be able to get him into sprint mode over short distances.
In conflict with all this planning, was the thought that Ray may have internal issues. His previous owners chose not to put him on heartworm prevention medication with the result that he did in fact contract the condition. A routine test soon after we adopted him determined that he had Stage 2 heartworm which, given the rating scale of 1 to 4, indicated that while it was serious, he had a good chance of surviving the treatment which consisted of 3 deep muscle injections with an arsenic based compound. These would hopefully kill all the worms in his body, from the microscopic “babes” to the spaghetti like “seniors”. He was successfully treated over the summer of 2013 but we can never know whether there was any residual internal damage.
Will Ray ever become a running buddy? Of course I don’t know however, I will slowly build up both his distance and his pace and watch for any signs that he needs to rest. Fortunately, he is extremely good at hitting his brakes as necessary! Anybody who has been moving along at a brisk pace and experienced a sudden 75lb weight on the end of the leash will understand!