Our dog Brinca is 6 years old. She and I have been running together for six years. Before this year, I've never really tried to improve my running time, as I've just done it casually - for pleasure...no, really. But, there have been many times we've run together and we're just not in sync. She would slow me down! And since she is usually on the leash, it would pull me back. I found it quite annoying. She was especially slow in the summer - a black fur coat doesn't do her any favors. I would intentionally seek places to run where I could let her off leash, but that's not always an option. Adding to some of the frustration of her slowing me down, I found that when I let her off leash, she still had plenty of energy to chase after any moving object in the bushes off trail -- a rabbit or prairie dog. But, she didn't have enough energy to keep up!
But recently, I noticed that it wasn't necessarily that she was slower than me, it was just that our pace was different. My jogging pace was faster than her trot, but her canter was faster than my jog.
I've never really used anything to pace me, to speed me up, but tonight on my jog, I found that if I wanted to run faster and maintain a faster pace, I needed to run at her canter pace. She would never have let me onto this, being a good submitting dog not wanting to drag me (and she's a bit lazy, so maybe didn't mind that I would drag her along).
And just like that, after six years, and several frustrating runs with Brinca "slowing me down", she has all of a sudden become the perfect training partner for me as I seek to improve my running times.
Life is often not what it initially seems. So much of our enjoyment of life is simply a matter of perspective. Sometimes we don't realize the gift that others (people and animals) are to us.
Thanks, Brinca for being a great running dog.