Monday, May 19, 2014

About a Boy...The Boy Who Got Me Going

Ever since about November Running = Pain for me.  It's a very strong association which has caused me to drop my mileage back significantly.  For a while I just didn't run at all.

And then a new boy came into my life.

When I saw him, I instantly turned away from him.  I didn't like his look.  He looked a little crazy.  I opted to meet the black lab who was hiding in the corner.  I loved that black lab.  He sat on the floor of the meet and greet room, looking away from us the whole time.  But he sat there, calm and quiet as can be.

"Mom, he's BORING!  I want the brown dog!  I want the brown dog!  Can you please let us meet the brown dog?" is what Quinn told the SPCA counselor.  About 752 times.  The brown, crazy dog.

And so, with some trepidation, I agreed.

The brown dog, who was named Buck, entered the meet and greet room as if he were Tigger.  He bounced in, like tossing a rubber ball into an aquarium, heading directly towards Isla and Quinn.  He proceeded to hop up into my lap.

As Isla and Quinn acted like typical children, Buck wasn't afraid.  Instead, he seemed interested in what they were doing.  He wanted to play with them.  You could tell he wanted to be engaged with them.  After a few moments of play, he came back to sit with me, resting his head on my lap for a moment, before looking up at me with those eyes of his....

And at that moment, I melted.

An hour later, the funny looking brown dog was headed home with us.

On the car ride home, we stripped him of his shelter name, which wasn't at all suited to him. Quinn came up with his new name, which we all instantly agreed on:  Lucas.

Life with Luke was good for a week.  He was quiet.  Sleepy.  Calm.  "Oh my gosh I can't believe the perfect dog is mine!"   I was so used to life with crazy labs.  During this honeymoon period we all fell head over heels in love with him.
Our first morning with Luke - January 

About a week after he joined our family, I got the flu and he slept by my side the entire time.  And then I got better...

Luke began to act like a puppy.

He began to chew.
And mouth.
And jump.
And pee.
He.  Got.  Crazy.

He was so awful...I thought I might need to return him to the shelter so the rescue group could find a more suitable home for him.  One where there weren't children.  Or toilet paper rolls.  Or plants.  Or walls.  In doing some asking around, we learned that he was probably never fed well (he was  malnourished and sick), socialized properly- if at all, and may have spent his life as a stray.  I wasn't sure that we were the people that could help him.

But then I thought about it.  We are crazy, like him.  So our energy levels matched.  We also love passionately, which is what he lacked his whole life.  I also realized what makes a crazy, hyper person calm down?  A fantastic RUN.

While I wasn't 100% committed to keeping him (maybe he should be in a home where he's the only dog...maybe he should be in a home without children...maybe he should be in a home with a stay at home parent....), I decided to try running and see if it helped.  I also put into place a pretty solid schedule, which included crate training, fetch, and time outs when he got on the Crazy Train.

But it only took one run to realize that...this dog...was put on Earth to be someone's distance running partner.

Never having gone to an obedience class or really spent much time on a leash, Luke knew to heel properly during a run.  Even more cool, Luke knew that he needed to heel to the stroller- that his job would be to keep his nose even with the Bob.  He also never tired.

Heeling to the stroller, like a Boss

Luke has a chronic medical condition (because why adopt a normal dog) which requires us to visit his vet regularly.  His vet has watched Luke grow, both physically, and mentally, before his eyes.  Not only has Luke gained a much needed 10 pounds, but he has found a new sense of calm.  This is something I think most of us who are runners can relate to.  Running chills us out.  It takes the chaos and craziness, and channels it.  

 Nothing is better than a nap with your running partner after 8 miles!

Luke got me back to running distance again.  Before him, I was using excuses and pain to get me out of a run.  But now, I use the excuse of, "Oh Luke needs some calm down time, he's really hyped up today!" While we're running, instead of being focused on my pain during the run, I focus on how HAPPY he looks.  Like a distance runner gets in the zone, so does Luke.

 Luke instinctively took towards watching out for Isla and guarding her while in the Bob. 
 This was his second Stroller Run.  

Luke has only been in our family for 4 months, and things are far from perfect.  He still hijacks toilet paper rolls.  He stock piled soaps in the back yard, and he's chewed every pair of heels I own (notice, he hasn't touched my Brooks or Newtons...hmmm....).  But things are so much better now that we're a running team.   I like to think that I didn't rescue Luke, but rather, we're rescuing each other.  

Team Crazy Train, All Feet In

Running with a dog .... six legged running .... rescue dog .... shelter pet