Thursday, May 14, 2015

He Still Runs. He Does Not Run Alone

Hello to the internet. It has been quite a while. How are you? Well hey, count your blessings, right?

I'm doing well, thanks. When I last checked in here I had a job where I worked at a desk. I never really made a point to mention it because it lacked relevance (other than the fact that I ran to and from that office). I was employed at this office for quite some time, and since my last post I realized that I was making compromises; ones that I could no longer accept or justify.

As I greet you today I remain diligent in traversing this city on foot, but I do it with renewed purpose: The vast majority of my city running since late January has been done with man's best friend at my side.  No, I did not adopt a dog of my own (that day will come), but rather I am earning money through taking other people's dogs out for runs or 'fitness sessions' if you will.

Many friends of mine are either currently dog-walkers or have walked dogs professionally in the past and I was inspired to channel my passion for running in to a practical and professional source of exercise, stress relief, and weight loss for the countless dog residents of this city. One nice byproduct of this would be, and indeed has been, a happier Joe; completely removed from corporate life for several months, spending time with wonderful canines and generally feeling more free to consider where I have been and where I'm going

Growing up with a black lab, my love of dogs began at a very young age . The bond between our species is undeniable and scientifically explained thanks to millennia of artificial selection, and my experiences thus far going running with all shapes and sizes of dog have served to deepen that bond.  Quadrupeds and Bipeds fundamentally have different approaches to and benefits garnered from a good run, but the plain truth is that, barring advanced age or disability, dogs love and need to run in order to be as happy and healthy as possible.

Save for a few breeds, dogs, like most quadrupeds, are best suited for faster runs spanning shorter distances. That said there is still plenty of benefit in conditioning them to enjoy going on longer runs. As we have for thousands of years, man and dog can meet somewhere in the middle and feed off of each other's energy to arrive at a happy and healthy compromise of distance and pace.  I'm never looking to push these pups beyond where they are comfortable, but it's also important to make sure they know that I'm ready to go sprinting a bit if they're feeling particularly frisky.  The flip side of that is working with the loving creatures when they are less inclined to run, showing patience when needed and understanding what might be bothering them in these instances.

More than anything, my running as of late has taken on a beautiful selfless quality that I wasn't accustomed to.  I remain in love with the activity, but I now practice it in service of others. The rather modest compensation also goes a long way in making this feel like less of a personal or selfish activity *nervous laughter*.  I am a vehicle, a facilitator, a trainer, a step-parent of sorts, and a friend to these animals, and I get to share some beautiful and enjoyable moments with them every day during a point in my life when running with company is both welcome and cherished.

Quira Ba

(pardon the pictures, but it's been empirically proven that people enjoy internet things more when cute dog images are involved)