Libby’s Last Long Run

I took Libby, my Weimaraner, with me on Sunday’s trail run. Beautiful day, not too cold, not too hot, great day to run with a dog. It’s been awhile since I’ve ran with her for various reasons but I expected a normal run. Please note that “normal” when running with a hunting dog is relative. I was hoping to avoid her pulling me off trail in search of birds. I was hoping to keep her on trail and focused on the run rather than the hunt. If I could put blinders on her I’d consider it but would still need to contend with the acute hearing and sense of smell; therefore, blinders would be useless. πŸ™‚

If you’ve never ran with a hunting dog, this is what it looks like:

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They are almost ALWAYS in front of you. Not in heel position. Not even in heel if they have been thru 3 very good training/obedience classes. Never. But that’s okay, I don’t mind her leading the way. She’s led a lot of hiking and running miles over the last 8 years. She has ran long runs with me up to the half marathon distance many a times without so much as blinking twice at the distance, in fact she frequently looks back at me when I start lagging as if to say, “you doing ok, mom?”. If a dog could be a soulmate, then that’s what Libby is to me. When I stop for sightseeing or photos, she stops too without a complaint. She is always just content to be with me regardless of the activity.

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We maintained a slowish pace for the first half with me stopping for photos a million times frequently but the mental plan was to hit the half way mark (4 miles), flip and bust it back to the car. That’s almost always our modus operandi and she knows when we turn, we are going home. It’s normally difficult to keep up with the speed she wants to run. At 5 miles, Libby fell into heel position. I actually chuckled and looked at my watch while thinking to myself, “how many miles does it take for an 8 year old weim to fall into heel?” The chuckles were short lived though when Lib slowed to a walk at 5.25 miles. Ugh oh….. The car is at mile 8. Apparently, weims get old too. The writing had been on the wall for quite sometime but I had been in denial. My girl has lots of lumps, bumps & skin tags. She has a very prominent one in the lymph nodes of her front right leg. You can even see it here.

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I managed to get Lib back to the car, slowly, walk/jogging, with lots of coaxing, but she was exhausted for 2 days thereafter.

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So reality has set in, we are all aging, some of us infinitely faster than others. It was a wakeup call for me to take a minute to smell the roses before they wilt and are gone for good. No more long runs for my Lib; however, I’ll still take her for the shorter runs which she loves. We will do that for as long as she is able before we enter the next chapter of our lives.

I’m a firm believer in making each and every day count. I have always felt as if I were on borrowed time. I know it’s impossible to fit “everything” in but I’m still going to try. I encourage you to not only make today count but to move forward with your life in a positive manner leaving behind a trail in which you will be proud to call your own. Know that tomorrow is today so don’t wait because nothing is guaranteed.

** Make It Count ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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19 thoughts on “Libby’s Last Long Run

  1. I was talking to a runner friend a while back who has to keep his shoes in the garage and quietly sneak out for his monring run, because his elderly dog gets really upset she can’t go anymore! Even though I’m not a runner, I have to be very careful with my dog (approx. 7-8 years old) because she has joint problems. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know she’s old – a luxury I wish I had!

  2. Libby will love those shorter easy runs with you. I run with my bestest fur buddy who is my soul dog mate. I know when the day comes I will be just as heart broken. I will stop and let her smell for rabbits tomorrow πŸ˜‰

  3. Awh… I remember the day when Robin could no longer be my mountain bike dog too. Sad day. You described it exactly. She always stayed in front. Then one day she starting in front, fell to heel position at about 4 miles in and was completely done by Mile 8. Hugs to you and Libby.

  4. Very well said…..in reading this my heart ached for you. I know it will be very difficult when Skyler can’t run with me, he is my Soul Dog, (even have the same birthday). He sooo knows when it is Sunday and we hit Swallow cliff trails, I don’t even need to say anything, he will not let me out the door with out him! Always make the best of everyday, because you never know what tomorrow will bring!

  5. TTF…your story so touching and it reminds me of my old dog, Jiggers…a German Short-Haired Pointer. I used to take him on some running at times, but back then I was doing the long distance training. When I lived in the farmhouse S-side of Raccoon Grove…he was pretty old then…long retired from bird hunting…and even too old to take on runs anymore.

    Jiggers used to chase after the deer if they were out and in sight when I let him out of house for bathroom duty. Usually I checked to see if any deer around before I opened the door, but one time I missed seeing them…or they moved out of the woods in the time I first glanced out the window…and went and got him to let him out. By then his hearing was failing so I had to go and make visual contact to say its time to go out!

    And when I let him out….there was this group of 3 does and a big buck out there in the grass ca 50 yards distant. I thought oh-shit…he’s gonna be running a country mile or more and I ain’t gonna see him for an hour or so. But…he stared at those deer…long and intently…then didn’t bolt…put his head down…sniffing the ground and putzing about. I knew then…his days was closing fast….too tired…too worn down….too old….to chase deer….or anything. And Jiggers died not long after that within a few months…he was gone.

    So yes….Make It Count….oh-so-well put by you…that story bout running with Libby…the last time (at least long)….Make It Count!

  6. Oh my goodness, look at that face! She is beautiful. Two weeks ago it was obvious my Wheaten Terrier is now an old girl; sweet as can be but old indeed. Now he is on arthritis meds for her legs and its bittersweet to see her like that since I want her to live forever! I lost my other dog in June and it is true what you say that time goes by so fast.

  7. So sad. At least for now she can still go on shorter runs. I’m sure she LOVES running with you. That must have been so scary for the both of you being so far away from the car when it happened. Hugs to you and LIbby. I love my 4 legged running girl too….and it will be a sad sad day when she can no longer come with me.

  8. Libby is beautiful! My pup (border collie) also has to be in front when we run πŸ™‚ He is going to be 8 in a few months and I am starting to see a slight decline in his energy. We are also striving to live each day fully and enjoy every moment. Beautiful post πŸ™‚

  9. I don’t have human kids; I have fuzkids. One who will be 13 this January. Scout was my running partner for years. Aussie/Heeler mix that would out pace me everyday. She’s slowed down a lot and her sight is going now. But I love her just the same. I’ve lost two other dogs in her 13 years to canine cancer so I know how special each day with them is. So hug Lib close. Give her extra special lovins. Take lots of pictures. Make memories. They’re here for such a short time but touch our hearts forever.

  10. Pingback: Running With Your Dog …. | TooTallFritz

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