Sometimes It’s hard to let go…
Running is a great activity. It is, of course, a sport so it checks one box for me in that it helps keep me in shape. Something I didn’t even think about when I started, is now a crucial advantage. I sometimes enjoyed bringing my dog, Sadie with me. I have two dogs, but the other one, Jack, is a 90+ lb boxer that is more comfortable on his bed than he is out on the trail with me. Not my Sadie! She would much rather be outside running than be inside with her brother sleeping the afternoon away.
Running with your dog is helpful to the workout too. She won’t let you forget about it or let you slow down/ cut the run short either. She is there to keep you honest as much as keep you company. I found it is a way to build a special bond as well. When we are back home I feel closer to Sadie than Jack and I can’t explain it other than we share something Jack and I do not. As the years went by I preferred to run by myself sometimes, but there were other times that Sadie HAD to be with me. She was an important part of the run, if only mental. That’s why when Sadie started to slow down I became sad. Sad because I knew what was happening. Sadie was past eight years old and for a boxer that was approaching the maximum. Sometimes I would leave her in our back yard as I went out only to return and see her waiting for me at the gate – right where I left her!
Then, one day right before last Thanksgiving (’16), Sadie had some problems with her back legs and as we sat it the vet’s exam room the diagnosis came out of left field. She had Lymphoma. How can this be? Jack was fine. Healthy as a horse (and about the same size), but our Sadie the healthy, active one had cancer. The doc told us with chemo we could probably improve the time we had left with her, but our running activities would have to end. The therapy she was about to embark on would take a toll on her physically and running her might be too much. So, to say I lost my running partner “recently” is not actually true. I lost her that afternoon before Thanksgiving. Sadie lived for about a year after that. It was a good year in which she packed a lot of fun into it.
Sadie has been gone for over six weeks now. It has taken me that long to be able to write about it. Something happens to you when you lose a dog. It feels like you have lost a family member, because you have! My wife put it into perspective when she explained it this way – Sadie was a big personality, she ruled the house. She was the quintessential Alpha Male, without being a male. Now that personality is gone and it leaves a big hole. It leaves a big hole in my running too. I’ll be ok though. I will go back to running on my own (I won’t even ask Jack). I have my memories and that’s all I need. I’m one of those runners that runs without music. People pass me by and ask How can you spend all that time running with out music to take your mind off the pain. I reply I have plenty to keep my mind off the pain. Besides, I’m still running with my dog, Sadie!