Last week I made the great mistake of running in the heat. I got out the door late, thinking that my route was shaded most of the way, so it wouldn’t be too awful.
WAS I EVER WRONG. I had to reel home in the heat, several times almost stopping to sit down and put my head between my knees. I knew, though, that if I stopped, I probably wouldn’t be able to get back up, and since there is nobody who would come get me, well then. There was no choice. I was glad I hadn’t taken Miss B, both because of the temperature and because she would have been completely overstressed by trying to herd me home. At least I managed to get a solid half-hour in before I almost passed out. The thing that stopped me from losing consciousness was twofold: one, I felt like throwing up, and I will not do that when I’m about to pass out; and two, I am hideously afraid of falling and chipping a tooth. Why that, rather than a broken bone or road rash, should be the thing I fixate on, I have no idea.
So, Miss B and I were both itchy this morning, and since the ungodly icky-hot has largely broken and I was getting out the door at a Reasonable Time, I took her along. An easy six kilometers, just to shake things out. It’s at the top edge of Miss B’s range nowadays. A few years ago she would have salivated at the prospect of a 10K and we could have trained for one together, but as she’s grown older, it would be cruel to ask that of her. She’d run until her heart gave out, my darling Aussie.
Dogs don’t make good decisions. It’s part of their lovable charm, to some extent, but it’s also why owners have to protect them. I am, of course, MEAN and CRUEL to leave Miss B behind on days when I’m running longer or faster. She just can’t comprehend that it’s to save her from her own exuberance.
So, she’s sacked out asleep just outside the office door as I type this. I could tell, somewhere around 4.5km, that the excess had been drained off and she was getting down to Serious Work. She still lunges at schoolbuses (they’re practicing their routes for the first day) and bicyclists (what the fuck would she do if she CAUGHT one, I’d like to know) and motorcycles, not to mention her pulling and oh-god-PLEASE sounds when she spots another dog. Some things, I gather, will not change, no matter how elderly a statesdog she becomes.
Another symptom of encroaching age is her separation anxiety. It’s getting worse, no matter how often I come back. Even if the kids are home with her, even if Odd Trundles is present for her to boss around, she still loses her shit when I leave. We’ve done all the training to show her I always come back, she has items of my clothing to snuggle, and she’s almost never left alone in the house. Even when Odd goes to the vet, she comes along to remind him to breathe. *eyeroll* But none of that matters, apparently. If her nose isn’t right up my rump all day, clearly she is in AGONY and must TELL THE WORLD.
Anyway, we turned in a good time on today’s run, and since she’s been worked, she’ll be livable for the rest of the day. Tomorrow morning, though, she’ll be spry and bouncy again, ready and waiting to go jaunting about. She won’t know that I’m dialing back because she’s older, she doesn’t know I watch her carefully during every run just in case it becomes too much for her. As long as I keep her active, the vet says, she’ll keep going, even with the issues she has from puppyhood malnutrition and too-early breeding.
I won’t lie. Sometimes it irks me to go slower, to stop early, to dial every run down. If that’s the price for keeping her happy and active, though, it’s a small one. We have them so briefly, these lovable, furry idiots, it’s worth a few adjustments.