It was my first shift volunteering at the Guelph Humane Society when I was introduced to new running partner: Sona, a beautiful 11-month old Siberian Husky who was available for adoption.
I’ve never run with a Husky before so I knew that this would be a whole different experience. She was eager to get going as we warmed up, and I could soon see that she wanted to be lead. That didn’t take me by surprise given her nature. As we started to run, she took a bold leap forward in long hopping motions, as if bounding over invisible snow banks. She actually had me cracking up and I laughed out loud as we ran together. What an amazing way that nature works, I thought, as in her young age it was as if her actions were reminiscent of her past ancestors bounding through snow pulling dogsleds.
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The next time that I volunteered, we met again. Another wonderful outing ensued, showing that she could run without tiring for a very long time. In her pen, she seems to be able to play ball endlessly. There was no end to her ball retrieving and gently placing it at my feet and teasing me to pick it up.
Then the call came from the Guelph Humane Society asking if I would be willing to take her off-site for an outing and a longer run. She was getting restless at the shelter and needed more exercise. I jumped at the opportunity.
So this past Sunday, with doggie treats and bags in hand, I sprung her loose. As we peeled out of the driveway, she relished in sniffing the air as we drove across the city. For the next two hours, she was mine. I drove her to a local trail and we set off on our adventure together.
With her gentle nature, she urged me along when she was ready to run, and she stopped when she wanted to explore. I followed her lead. She dipped her toes into a stream, found and carried a stick with her head held high, watched various wildlife animals cross our path and she explored. I took note of the way she was just enjoying herself and just being there completely happy in her surroundings.
Together as we ran, the same things seemed to keep catching our attention: the rustle of the fall leaves beneath our feet, the babbling stream of cool water, the stick lying on a path, the squirrel running over our heads on the branches, the light pole on the sidewalk that startled her with its sheer size and height. In her exploration and experience, I slowed down a bit too, exploring and experiencing right alongside her.
As I drove back to the Guelph Humane Society, she sat closely by my side. I wondered if she would dream about our outing in the days ahead.
She looked over at me and I could see the gratitude in her eyes. I hoped that she could see the same look in mine.