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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Running and the Puppy

The past week has been a busy one, especially with the new puppy. Before we got the dog, I always scoffed at people who spoke of their dogs as if they were children, and I always believed that having a dog would be much the same as not having one -- just a few required changes. But having a dog, or at least a puppy, is challenging work, and I now see everyone who owns pets in a different light: It truly is an added responsibility.

Little did I know that owning Scooter would affect all areas of my life including time spent in the shower and even in the toilet, but I had no idea that owning a puppy might also affect my running. Because we've only had him a few days, and the three of us are adjusting to life with one another, my husband and I are trying to limit Scooter's alone time (the books say we need to "bond," which for Scooter means bonding by means of sharp teeth -- nothing can break free from those). And this mostly means that he stays home by himself when we are at work or running necessary errands, but it also means that he's alone when I'm at the gym or out on a run. And two days ago when I ran, I fretted the whole time about him: Would he be yipping and crying (we have neighbors who might be disturbed and upset by that noise)? Would he be pooping all over the floor? Chewing apart cords or getting stuck behind the refrigerator?

So I decided into the first mile of my run to go for only three instead of four, and I ran them in just over thirty minutes; I was motivated -- I needed to get home to the pup. And yesterday (my day for strength training), I decided that instead of going to the gym, I would lift (with my hand weights) at home. This proved to be more difficult than I originally imagined since a puppy assumes that you are on the floor for one reason: To play with him. He kept licking my face and biting at my feet and fingers (the biting thing is getting exhausting to deal with) while I did push-ups and he jumped and played with me as I tried to move through varying sets of curls and rows. He seemd to think that those weights were chewable toys I was trying to keep away from him.

Thankfully, a dog does mean plenty of walking, so this does provide a little extra exercise; however, a puppy means that those walks need to remain pretty short. He tuckers out easily (although there is always enough energy when we get home to tug at my jeans and wrestle with his stuffed toys), so we can't get too far. Plus, it's not a very vigorous walk because of frequent stops to pee, poo, and sniff out the territory. And, of course, once he's done, he's done. He'll plop down in the middle of the sidewalk and refuse to walk another step. He'll sit or lay and will endure dragging if need be in order to save his precious legs from exerting themselves one more inch. (I wonder what would happen if I just sat down in the middle of a run; I probably wouldn't want to get up either.) And lastly, sometimes he's not in the mood to walk, only in the mood to tear apart your pants and shoes.

Yesterday I was embarassed to find myself not twenty feet outside my door stalled by the dog running in circles at my feet and attacking them: It was a frenzy of biting, gnawing, jumping, and circle sprinting. We did not get far before turning back -- he was maniacal. When my husband got home from work, I turned that devil dog over to him, wished him luck, and headed out for my night class relieved to get time away from the chewer. Yet, it was great to return home and have him run to greet me (might be the best part of owning a pet).

Of course, after our initial affection was exchanged, he started chewing on my pants.

1 comment:

jkrunning--Just Keep Running said...

I remember those days!! When we first got our lab, as a puppy, she had a fondness for chewing shoes, but only expensive ones. Maybe they taste better??