Foot Steps & Paw Prints

So, if you live in Florida, you know how absolutely craptastic the weather has been this week!  In the last 3 days, I have been forced to log 15 miles on the treadmill.  Although I have started to get used to running on the treadmill (and actually quite enjoy having an opportunity to watch my show of choice – Season 2 of Once Upon A Time), enough is enough.  It has also been frustrating dealing with our broken treadmills – yes, we are already having issues.  The repairman is due out tomorrow and that’s a story for another day…

Anyway, I had a wonderful new running experience over the weekend and I am so excited to share it with all of you.

Is It Possible To Love Too Much?

If you haven’t gathered this from past posts, I am an incredibly devoted animal lover.  I wish I could save them all but I have always tried to look for ways to do my part and give back.  In the past this has included things like adopting my beautiful kittens from a local animal control shelter, volunteering at a local no-kill shelter, taking shelter dogs into nursing homes, volunteering at a local zoo, volunteering with a local Greyhound rescue group, etc.  Life gets busy and I’m not perfect so I have not always been consistent but I try to make efforts when and where I can.

Well, I think I finally found the perfect way to give back at this point in my life.  It hardly feels like giving since I think I am getting as much or more out of it but it’s rewarding and I am so happy I found it.  So what is it?

Central Florida Rescue Racers

Volunteers from a local no-kill shelter called Pet Rescue by Judy decided to start a group called Central Florida Rescue Runners.  This group meets bi-weekly to run up to 3 miles with adoptable dogs who need every opportunity to expend their pent-up energy!  Unfortunately, the very nature of life in a shelter means that these kind and beautiful creatures are forced to spend almost 24 hours a day in a crate.  While regular volunteers do everything they can to enrich the lives of these animals, this new running group creates yet another outlet for these dogs to really get out and stretch their legs.  On Sunday, Charles and I woke up bright and early, hopped in the car, and headed to see what this thing was all about.

My Running Buddy

Ugh, I am just in love with my little running friend.  Although I have been on an adoption campaign with Charles ever since the run, I know my cats would probably never be the same if I brought a dog into their lives.  So I will hold off…for now at least.

Anyway, meet Sunni, a Jack Russell/Catahoula Leopard Dog Mix.

IMG_4331

He was an absolute sweetheart and boy can he run!  He ran between a 9:00 and 10:30 pace for 3 whole miles!  That’s pretty impressive, especially for such a small dog who doesn’t have much experience running.  As you can see from his exhaustion in the photo, we had a great run!

Charles was paired with this sweet Shar-Pei/Terrier mix named Pumpkin.  Poor Pumpkin has been at the shelter since October (hence the name) and is an absolute sweetheart despite her tough exterior.

IMG_4333Now, Pumpkin did a great job of keeping up with the long stride of my 6’4″ husband but her endurance has a little room for improvement.  Like almost all dogs, Charles said she went out hard but got a little tired towards the end.  She still put in an impressive 3 miles!

We’ll Be Back to Give Back!

If all of us runners sacrificed just 3 miles a week to let a dog in need set the pace, can you imagine how much good we could do?  I encourage you to seek out opportunities in your own community to turn running into a force for good (more than it already is).

I cannot wait to join this group again during their next meet up.  If these dogs got even 1/4 of the benefit I did out of those 3 miles, then I know it was time well spent.

IMG_4334Now that is one tired pup!

How has running enabled you to give back?

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