On a beautiful, sunny Saturday a few weeks ago, Ashley and I were set to run 6 miles. We headed to our usual greenway and started on our journey. The weather was gorgeous but we were feeling tired, probably from all of the nonsense going on with trying to sell the house. Just after our first mile marker and the first bridge, we came upon a man with a mid-sized dog on a leash. There was another dog, a German shepherd, who appeared to be lost. He was skinny and did not have a collar but he had burs all over him. As we made a left turn just before we got to him, he headed our way and began running beside us on the path, which is full of attractive qualities. The greenway is lined with tall trees, baseball fields, open grassy fields, a horse pasture and a creek.
Our new friend motivated us. He made the run seem easier and made us feel as if we were running faster. He constantly switched from one side of the path to the other, exploring every crevice he could find while pulling us along with him. If we called him, he would come. If he got ahead of us, he would stop, turn and wait for us to get closer. Whenever we caught up within a few feet, he would sprint ahead of us again, continuing to sightsee. The only thing he was missing was some water. Just after we passed some trees between miles 2 and 3, our new friend sprinted ahead of us and belly flopped into someone’s pond, shamelessly.
We continued on. Just before we hit our 3 mile mark we came upon a group of young athletes and their encouraging parents. We turned around a little early and decided to tack on the extra mileage at the end rather than running amidst the kids, cars and chaos.
The second half of our 6-mile run was almost as easy as the first half. The most difficult part was shortly before we finished. Around mile 5.5 we passed our starting point and headed up a gradual hill where there was an elementary school, a few offices and to our surprise, the Animal Control building. Debating on what to do with this dog throughout our entire run, we realized passing this building was not necessarily the best thing for him. We continued on in hopes that no one would come out and catch him. We arrived at the dead end of the road and turned back toward our finish line. As we passed Animal Control, a man came out and called the dog; he ran right to him. We continued running our last .2 miles, knowing there wasn’t much we could do for our friend. We finished up, feeling very sad about how our inspiring run ended. I called my old boss, Charlie, who I knew would have an answer for me. I asked him what to do and what my options would be. He and I both knew I didn’t have room for another dog in my house nor did I really have anywhere to keep him for a brief period of time until we found out who he belonged to.
We got in the car and headed back up to Animal Control. Two men were standing outside with the dog when we pulled up. Ashley asked them if they knew the owner, and told them about how the dog had just finished 6 wonderful miles with us. We were told that he had been adopted from there just a few weeks ago and that his owner was on his way to pick up “Sarge,” our new friend.
We are very thankful for Sarge and his motivation on our run that day. We have a lot of training runs ahead of us and several behind us as well. Most of them we will not remember but I know neither of us will ever forget the day we ran 6 miles with Sarge.