With my adventures of running 12 races in 12 months, I’ve conducted many different experiments as a means of meeting this goal. In 2016, I coordinated my schedule to run a race each month. For 2017, my goal has been to participate in 12 races over the course of the year, resulting in some months with multiple races and other months without any. What I haven’t been successful in achieving, is a solid training schedule.

So I thought, “What better way to commit to running regularly than by volunteering to run with shelter dogs?”

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It was a great plan – even if I say so myself. By signing up to run with the dogs, I’d be staying fit while helping a local shelter and its furry friends. When I reached out to the Guelph Humane Society to float this idea, they responded with an emphatic “Yes!” I have always wanted to partner with this organization in some way. Five years ago, we adopted our sweet family dog from this shelter and the kids and I find ourselves heading to the Humane Society to visit the animals when out and about around town on the weekends.

I recently had my Volunteer Orientation as a “Canine Companion” as I’m gearing up to start running with the dogs. There are many things I’ve learned along the way too. Like, always have dog treats with you if you want your new friend to have incentive to obey commands. Plastic bags are always a must, for obvious reasons. Warming up and cooling down are just as important for the pups are they are for us. Start slowly to see how the dog responds – some will start fast, other refuse to get going. Oh, and don’t casually wrap that leash around your wrist… you’re going to want a firm grip and you don’t want to learn that the hard way… 

I am looking forward to getting to know my new canine companions immensely. I am fortunate to work close to the Humane Society, so I may schedule one lunch a week to go there to walk a couple of dogs and to prep my running companion for a dog jog on the weekend. I can’t wait to tell you all about our adventures and to introduce you to my new running friends.

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