Running with Moe for 3/17/13
There are a few races where a runner requests permission to run with a dog on a leash with them.
There are many races where dogs are not permitted because of the possibility of getting tangled up with other runners. There is also the possible outcome of the dog biting a runner that happens to venture too close. If the dog is allowed in the race the race director has them start in the very back of the pack of runners and then work their way to the front when the crowd is more of a single file. But, there are races where pets are welcome and encouraged to enter.
Here in San Marcos, runners have the Pet Fest 5K where dogs, cats, and animals in general can enter.
The pets are almost always a dog of some variety or breed. I haven’t seen many other different pets other than cats and dogs, but I have wondered what would happen if some cowboy came and entered his horse in a race.
Most races that have pets are a 5K distance but on occasion there might be a pet in a longer distance, such as a 10K. If the pet is a regular companion on practice runs with you things usually go well.
Many runners think a dog can run along with them in a race just because “that is what dogs can do!”
Dogs are more like sprinters than long distance runners. I have seen dogs in races where they are having a very difficult time. Humans can sweat to help regulate their body temperature, but dogs can only cool off by letting their tongue hang out and panting. Runners wear shoes to protect the soles of their feet, and while a dogs paws are pretty tough, running on pavement is not always the best for them.
I have seen a few dog prints on the pavement after a race where the paws left a bloody paw print. Runners can take in a drink of water out of a paper cup, or water bottle, very easily. Dogs can manage to get their tongue into a paper cup, but it is still not a water dish for easy access.
If the runner is trying to set a pace to finish the race, then stopping to allow the dog time to drink more than one small paper cup of water, sort of puts a damper on that.
Depending on the time of the year things can become dangerous for a dog on a long run of three miles. Summer heat can be a real killer for dogs. I used to run with my Malamute dog. With long hair and fur black as coal was not a good combination for a long run.
Running by Wonder World one day saw him veer off and jump in the pool of water next to the waterfall. He just sat there and drank his fill and knew that I had to wait for him to cool off. Dogs know when things are going wrong and they need to stop.
During Pet Fest 5K one year a dog came down with heat exhaustion and was having a very tough time of it. He was given water, and even some Gatorade sport drink, to see if it would help him revive. Ice packs were put around him and about 30 minutes later he was up and about.
But, a very dangerous situation could have ended just as badly if water and ice had not been there at the finish line.
Some dogs are better at running along side you as a partner. Dogs with very short legs find it tough to keep up after that first mile. Dogs that have long hair and with a day with hot temperatures are better going for a walk than a run.
Running on hot pavement is hard for a dog’s paws unless you provide them with “running shoes”. There are covered pads that you can buy for a dog’s paw that protects their feet.
I heard from one source this week that one of the only dogs meant for running a marathon distance of 26 miles was the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed. The lady wanted to train for a marathon and needed a running companion.
Doing some research on the subject she found out that Rhodesian’s were the best breed for long distance running. She bought a Rhodesian Ridgeback and when he is old enough, plans on training him to help her prepare for a marathon. At least, during the run, the dog won’t .......(you can fill in the rest of the sentence on that one).
Dr. Maurice Johnson is a former instructor at Texas State University in the Department of Sports and Exercise Science. His column appears every Sunday n the Daily Record.