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A good morning

Running Nole Fan

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As you're probably aware, Florida is hot. Most of Florida really doesn't have "seasons." Down south they have "my face is melting" and "oh, it'll take me 20 minutes to get a sunburn" as their seasons. Way up here in the panhandle, just south of the Georgia border we actually have something more akin to seasons. It's not like up north, north, though. Our fall basically just means that there's much less humidity and the temps are only gonna reach 85-88. The mornings, though, are quite awesome. we'll get down in the lower 70's.

We have 3 DK9s. A short, stocky, blind dachshund; a mutt we were told was lab-border collie mix; and a Great Pyrenees. The GP is a 120 lbs. giant, white, hair-shedding, lovable fluff ball. When we adopted her nearly 11 years ago, we had no idea what we were getting into...I mean, the interwebs explained to us that she wasn't going to be an obedient dog, so we knew that much. But, we didn't think about the mountains of hair she would shed in a week or the fact that afternoon walks in the summer just wouldn't be any fun for her. I've tried to be the dog owner that walks there dogs for a good hour every day (except the little dachshund, and hour of walking for her is roughly the equivalent of you or I running a marathon). I learned during the first year of having the GP that walking her after work in the summer was pretty mean. She didn't lay down and collapse in neighbors yards, but her tongue would become roughly as wide as my wife's Kia Soul as she panted her way through the walk. I decided that subjecting her to that was more akin to punishment than it was enjoyable for her. So, the dog-walking was switched to before work. Ever since, I've been getting up at 5 a.m. to walk the big dogs. I think they've enjoyed not being subjected to the summer heat...and I've learned to love that early morning solitude.

For years, the walk was a half mile loop to the west of my house; then, just before the intersection of the street before my street, at a storm drain, we'd turn for a three-quarters of a mile loop to the south. Sometimes, we'd zig-zag up and down a couple of side streets to add a little extra if they were feeling it.

The years have gone by and the girls have gotten older. The GP has developed arthritis; and it's slowed her down quite a bit. I talked to her doctor about walking her, and he still wants her walking as much as she wants to. He said to just let her dictate the walks. The lab mix, though, is still strong and happy. Most of the time now, the GP will continue to head towards home; but, sometimes, she'll stop at the storm drain just before the intersection where we've turned onto the south loop for the last decade. She'll either start pulling that direction or she'll just stop and look, apparently longing for the days gone by when she would walk and sniff her way around that loop, before deciding to continue towards the house. On the days that the GP goes home early, the lab mix and I head back out, after dropping the GP off at the house, for a brisk walk on the south loop. 

This week has seen a return to fall for us. It's been warm, but comfortable, in the afternoons and nowhere near as humid as it has been for the last several months. The mornings have been gorgeous, with a refreshing breeze. The skies have been clear and the stars beautiful. The other day, the GP wanted to turn towards the south but I was in too much of a rush to be able to take the extra time. I stopped, petted her head, and promised that, if she felt like it, I would take her to do that loop before the end of the week. I was sad that I didn't have the time to do that extra loop with her.

It was pretty again this morning and I spent most of the loop going to the west looking at the skies, wondering, thoughts wandering, and letting the DK9s walk and sniff 'til their hearts were content. As we made our way back toward the house, we arrived at that storm drain and stopped. She sniffed her usual spot right next to it as I stood and watched. She pulled at the leash, wanting to cross to the south loop and I smiled.

The three of us wandered slowly around that loop, I enjoyed the stars and the breeze and they enjoyed walking, sniffing, and just being dogs. When we approached the street that we normally turn on to do our zig zag, the GP gently pulled that direction. I let her slowly, gently lead the way. The first part up that street is a pretty steep uphill, especially for her now. But, she continued to slowly climb it; content with her pace. As we made our way back up our street, she slowed. It wasn't that pained, lumbering slowing down that she does as she nears the end of what she can do for that day. She was dilly-dallying, hoping to extend the time that we could be outside.

As I left to come to work, I told my wife that she had done the whole walk. She knows when we're talking about her, and she lifted her head to listen. She smiled a tired, but content smile and laid her head back down on the flloor. It was a good morning.

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Just now, Keep Running Girl said:

Aww!  I love this!!
 

Just needs puppy pics :D

I was too lazy to upload the pics to Imgur, get them and put them in here. There may be some puppy pics in the future though. :)

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I've never had an older dog till now, my almost 9 y/o Lincoln is a Newfie/Lab mix (so they said).  He pants from March through Thanksgiving and his walks are greatly reduced in the summer and we are keeping an eye out for age issues.  Can't imagine how he'd do in Florida!  We call him "Chief Broadtounge" when he's really hot.  

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I lived in South Florida for almost 5 years (Jupiter). Lovely area and I miss everything about it, except running outside in July/Aug/Sept/Oct. The beach near us allowed dogs and it really was like watching a kid in the candy store. Best days of their lives as they ran around, rolled in the sand and played in the waves. Although you could definitely see that the short-nosed dog breeds had a tougher time with the heat and humidity.

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39 minutes ago, Running Nutz said:

I've never had an older dog till now, my almost 9 y/o Lincoln is a Newfie/Lab mix (so they said).  He pants from March through Thanksgiving and his walks are greatly reduced in the summer and we are keeping an eye out for age issues.  Can't imagine how he'd do in Florida!  We call him "Chief Broadtounge" when he's really hot.  

I had a black lab as a kid, they do great. But, it would probably take Chief a little bit to acclimate if y'all did come here in the summer. Hope he stays healthy and happy for many years to come!

17 minutes ago, DrWhiskers said:

I lived in South Florida for almost 5 years (Jupiter). Lovely area and I miss everything about it, except running outside in July/Aug/Sept/Oct. The beach near us allowed dogs and it really was like watching a kid in the candy store. Best days of their lives as they ran around, rolled in the sand and played in the waves. Although you could definitely see that the short-nosed dog breeds had a tougher time with the heat and humidity.

That's a big part of the reason that I've waited until now to start back running again. :D I love seeing dogs at the beach, the joy is absolutely awesome!

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6 minutes ago, MeganKate said:

You are such an amazing dog owner! 

Thanks MK! I'm far from perfect, but I love those girls and will do everything I can to give them their best life!

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I have colleagues visiting from Florida. They have a "cold" room to store materials. 70F

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8 minutes ago, NavEng said:

I have colleagues visiting from Florida. They have a "cold" room to store materials. 70F

I'm not sure that I'd consider that's all that cold, I set the A/C down to 68* at night to go to sleep. Of course, that might have to do with the fact that I lived in Maine for a couple of years and fell in love with being cooooold when I sleep.

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My black dog practically melts in the summer.  His thin black coat gets really hot to the touch in the sun.  I can only imagine how hot your sweet GP gets, what with all that fur!  Sounds like a wonderful morning.

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18 minutes ago, HoosierJill said:

My black dog practically melts in the summer.  His thin black coat gets really hot to the touch in the sun.  I can only imagine how hot your sweet GP gets, what with all that fur!  Sounds like a wonderful morning.

Luckily with her white coat, it's not nearly as hot to the touch as my lab's was. But, I can imagine that under all that fur it's not very comfortable.

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This makes me realize I need to be a little more patient with my old dog while we're walking. I tend to keep nagging him to go faster. He would probably rather walk with you. :) 

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1 hour ago, CompulsiveRunner said:

This makes me realize I need to be a little more patient with my old dog while we're walking. I tend to keep nagging him to go faster. He would probably rather walk with you. :) 

I got impatient for a bit at first, then I realized something was up. Take good care of him and enjoy your time with him. 

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All. The. Feels..... 

My back route to work takes me along a bike/walk path where there are always people out with their doggos. I love the first cool morning after a long stretch of hot, humid weather - all the dogs have more spring in their step, their noses are up and sniffing the fresh, clean air... Even their tails look happy!  = )

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