Missing My 4-Legged Running Buddy

Linzay and Lucy.

Welcome to our new staff blog, which will be updated four times weekly by editor-in-chief Brian Metzler, Competitor.com senior producer Mario Fraioli, associate editor Cielestia Calbay and copy editor Linzay Logan. Our aim is to inform, inspire and entertain, while also sharing our own experiences as runners in an effort to open up a discussion about a variety of topics that we can all relate to on a daily basis. Enjoy!

Every time I would walk out the door to go for a run my mom would always yell from the other side of the house, “Take the dog with you! She likes to run. And she needs to run out some of her energy.”  Sometimes I’d take her with me. Every once in a while I’d go for a few miles then come back and take her along for the last couple. I was worried she couldn’t keep up with me if I was running longer than 45 min or an hour. She was little, maybe 30 pounds. It was the big labradoodle hair that made her look bigger. Plus, who wants to stop running every ten feet so your companion can smell every tree and every bush in the neighborhood?

One time I took Lucy running with me and was feeling good, so we kept on going. We went up and down this nice little path along the river in Napa and would say hello to all the other people and dogs we ran past. By mile 7 she started slowing down and I was pulling her, rather than the other way around as was usually the case. We started walking and she was panting so hard and her tongue was hanging out so far that I thought she might just sit down right there and say to me, “You’re crazy if you think I’m going to go any farther.” When we turned around to go back home, she picked up the pace. She knew we were headed back to the house.  But after a couple minutes it was back to me pulling her, soo I picked her up and carried her the rest of the way home.

Three weeks ago Lucy ran out the front door and wouldn’t come in—her favorite game. It was dark, and my mom and the neighbors were calling for her to come in. She was playing her puppy game. My mom would say that she was being a brat. My aunt says she’s like that because she’s a free spirit and likes to make up her own rules. The street my mom lives on is quiet and there a lots of dogs and kids out playing during the day. But in this instance it was nighttime, and as the truck turned the corner, the guy driving slammed on his breaks. Lucy was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The neighbors say Lucy stopped breathing after only a few minutes.

When my mom called me that night my heart broke in two — for my little Lucy and for my mom. Lucy was my mom’s best friend.

We never expected to have Lucy for only two-and-a-half years, but she had a great life for the short amount of time that she lived it and we all had a lot of fun with her. Everyone loved her. One of my mom’s friends loved her so much she went and got one of her sisters. And my aunt loved her so much her family got a labradoodle, too.

My mom spoiled Lucy like crazy. She had every toy, every dog bed, and every type of dog food ever made, and it seemed like my mom updated her bow and collar every time the seasons changed. When my mom got out of bed last Saturday morning to pick me up from the airport, she said she tripped over a dog bone that Lucy had dropped there. Not exactly the reminder she needed. I think I picked up 15 more dog bones and chew toys around the house and back yard while I was home that weekend.

Now we just have pictures and memories of Lucy. I’ll think about all the times I called her Lucifer for eating my shoes and digging up the yard. I’ll think about just sitting on the couch watching TV together and the first time we gave her a bath in the sink when she was a tiny puppy and looked like a little drowned rat. And all the times I made fun of her for her curly poodle hair.

I’ll think about all the times we went running together and all the times I didn’t take her with me but should have. Now all I want to do is run and I wish she could come with me.

If you have a dog, give he or she a hug and take them for a run. Life can be so much shorter than we could ever expect.

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