Running. Man and Running Dog.


6:50 am. 67F. 87% humidity. Mom’s gone for the weekend visiting family.  Zeke’s not happy.  Mom walks him every day.  Every single day.  Three times a day.  2 1/2 hours a day.  Daily routine – I wave to them from the couch as they head out the door.  This morning, he’s out of sync.  Discombobulated.  He sees me gearing up for a run.  He scrambles into his cage and lies down.  He’s knows what’s coming.  I grab him by his collar and drag him out of his cage.  He snarls, baring his teeth.  (I don’t need this sh*t. I don’t want to go either but we’re going.  Pure Bred Running Dog who hates running.  Owner is carrying him to the car.  What a picture this is.  He looks me in the eye – not a happy look.  I glare back.)  I shift his weight to my left and pull him tightly to my chest to free up my right hand.  I reach for the door handle of the car.  And, pull my lower back.  And grimace.  Oh, boy.  I open the door.  Heave him into the back seat.  And curse.

I fire up the car.  Shift uncomfortably in the seat.  Lower back.  Hmmmmm.

I back the car out of the garage.  Zeke climbs from the back seat to the front.  And starts licking my face.  “Sit down.  No bloody kisses. (He knows that I’m pi**ed.) He sits down in the passenger seat. His seat.  And sulks.

And we’re off.  Mianus Park. Plan: 5-Mile Trail Run. We arrive at the Park, leash up, and walk through the entrance.  He pulls back on the leash and lies down on the bridge.  He will not move.  He will not accept a treat.  (Oh, yes.  A test of wills.  Just what I need.)

Another dog owner walks by.  One older German Shepard Mix.  Another is a happy looking mutt with tail wagging furiously.  (Did she just give me that look?  Like, how’s that pure bred workin’ out for ya?)

I stop pulling on his leash.  He’s now lounging, looking down at the river below.  (How many shades of humiliation are there?)

I decide to pull a Mom and talk nicely to him.  “Come on buddy.  Let’s go for a nice walk in the woods.  Come on.  Let’s go.”  (Oh, for God’s sake.  I can’t do this.  Is this what I’ve come to?  Man-up.  206 lbs of fighting machine against this 70 lb beast and he’s got the upper hand.  No chance.)

I look at him.  He looks up at me.  His tail swishing on the bridge deck.  (Is he smiling? Could this be funny?)

“You are going to come.  Right now. And run.”  (Our last visit to this Park was not a great show.  And an Elephant never forgets.  And this one has a plan.  I will not let him off leash to have him lie down in the grass at the bottom of the hill forcing me to back track.  No sir.  Not me.  I will drag him for five miles, if that’s what it takes.)

And then a shocker.  He gets up and follows me into the woods.

And we run.

And we run.

And we run.

There are days (many) when there’s nothing in the tank.  And then there is today.

The hills are down hill.  The straight aways are down hill.  I jump from stone to stone to stone crossing the creek bed.

We are deep in the woods.  Sweat dripping.  Legs are splashed with mud.  Legs are light.  We chew up the path in front of us.

We get to the back of the park.  I let him off leash.  He bursts to the front.  Ears flapping.  He is pushing the pace.

He looks back, waiting for me to catch up.

He nuzzles his nose against my hand.

We run side by side.

Hold this moment.  Remember this feeling.”

May it last forever.

Nap time.

Related Posts: Running Series


  1. Good boy Zeke…!!!! They are a handful but worth every minute of it.


  2. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Awesome post.
    Laughing at “discombobulated” – what a great word.
    So glad it turned out so good – what a high!


  3. That a boy, Zeke! Way to get on the running groove with Dad! There’s nothing more exhilarating than a good workout–except someone to share it with. The only thing I see missing from this post? The post-run nap…. 🙂


  4. Ha-haa! I can SO relate to dogs and their power tripping!


  5. OMG…how could something so funny bring me to tears in the end??? I started laughing with “Pure Bred Running Dog who hates running”…and laughed many times throughout this post…only to have my emotions turn to sweet love..and then it was just OVER with the line ““Hold this moment. Remember this feeling.” I’ve been on the brink of tears for days now…and that just did it. And I think I needed to just let these tears flow over this sweet post. Thank you David.


  6. Love that Zeke, despite your frustration with him. And somewhere in this weekend I am confident he is going to be given an abundance of affection so help him sort through his bout of discombobulation.


  7. Way to go Zeke!


  8. The power of the wills…and when they work together it is awesome! Loved the story David 🙂


  9. lkanigan says:

    How do you gain 1.2 lbs. if your running through the trees and hills? Do you have perogies in your pockets!


    • The weight gain was from day before as weight in was in the morning. Day before was pizza, ice cream and subways. Doesn’t take much when you vacuum it up. Painful lack of discipline. 1 week of holding ground and then an explosion. Shameful.


  10. Very good.


  11. Ahhh. Good. I wish I could still run. Thank goodness I still have the bike…


  12. That’s a beautiful post, David, both you and Zeke at odds, then, in tune. Man’s best friend, put here to push us and support us. “How this moment. Remember this feeling” that’s what it is about.


  13. Alex Jones says:

    Looks like when Zeke is in the mood he makes a good personal coach. I remember the guy being dragged along by an enthusiastic Labrador the other day.


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