Monday, May 19, 2008

That Doggie In The Window

I'm a sucker for puppy eyes. And Rebel knows it.

Sunday was the first day that I didn't take my furry running partner (not to be confused with my Charming Friend) with me on the run from my house.

It was in his best interest, but he didn't know that.

I woke up Sunday morning with thoughts of getting a longer run in. I had planned a 10-mile run with Scott and Erin on Saturday, but after a mishap with my lawnmower and a couple of house showings scheduled for the day, that didn't happen.

As I laced up my shoes, Rebel thought it was his cue. He ran excitedly to the landing at the top of the steps, waiting (somewhat) patiently for me to buckle his collar and leash.

Sorry, Buddy, I said. Not today.

It was 9 a.m. by the time I got around to the run. The sun was shining brightly and the temperature was somewhere in the high 50's.

I knew Rebel's double fur coat would be too much for him and that he wouldn't make the whole run without needing many water breaks.

Luckily, the 2 1/2 mile mark is the lake's boat launch where he can lap up the water and wade around to cool off. But I was planning to do the whole 7 miles around the lake, so there wouldn't be another water break for the poor pup.

I think Rebel sensed he might not be coming with me, so he bounced down the stairs and sat in front of the door -- looking expectantly at the doorknob, then at me with those puppy eyes.

Pleeeese, Mom, he seemed to say.

It was almost enough to make me cave. But I resisted, knowing that as much as I wanted him to run with me, it wouldn't be good for him.

I called him to the top of the stairs, apologized to him and gave him a good pat on the head. Again, the puppy eyes stared at me in disbelief.

As I crouched down to pet him, he even gave me his version of a hug -- he puts his paw up on my arm and snuggles into me. It makes my heart melt every time. I'm sure he knows it, too.

I won't be long, I told him.

It was the first run I'd done without him since I started running in August. We were a team, running buddies. How could I leave him?

I apologized again -- do dogs even know what the word "sorry" means? -- and headed out the door.

I heard a few barks from the house as I made my way down the driveway. (He never barks when I'm leaving the house.) Wait for me, he was telling me. Pleeease.

I turned around for one last look. A little face peeked out through the curtains in the picture window. Even from the end of the driveway, I could see the puppy eyes.

I took one deep breath, felt terribly guilty and turned out of the driveway to run.

It turned out to be a good run. I concentrated on some of the things Coach Jack had talked about on Saturday to improve form and efficiency. Plus, I didn't have to stop for any pee breaks along the way. How can Rebel can possibly lift his leg 15 times in a 3-miles run?)

By the time I made it back an hour later, Rebel had mostly likely forgotten about the episode. I'm sure he didn't feel neglected or abandoned.

Nonetheless, I gave him some extra love when I got home -- and made up for it with a trip to the dog park later in the day, where he met up with his pal (although I'm not sure the feeling is mutual), Bogey and some other new-found friends.

Maybe the hardest part of marathon training during the summer months is going to be resisting those puppy eyes.

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