It started as a casual conversation between my bestie and I. We were talking about staying motivated while working out and in doing so, I was trying to pick my next running goal. I have been content in running the 5K distance and racing on a regular basis, but I still haven’t developed a regular training routine. It was at that time when a YouTube video about one man’s journey running with a shelter dog caught my eye.

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In our brainstorm for my newest running goal, my friend said, “What about running with shelter dogs?” At that moment, an ember caught fire. 

A quick Google search on running with shelter dogs produces a number of results. There seems to be various American organizations that connect runners with shelter dogs. The benefits are clear to me: many dogs would benefit from more strenuous exercise, resulting in happier and more content animals. This in turn could make them more adoptable and through the experience, the dog could land a new home.

The benefits for the runner are clear as well: there becomes a time commitment, a new furry training buddy and then there’s the positive feeling that comes when giving back. I’ve realized that my personality type is such that I’m much more committed when an activity involves helping someone else, and isn’t just about myself. I’ve been encouraging my son to volunteer at the local shelter. Once he turns 14, he’ll be eligible. I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to do this together.

I reached out to my hometown Guelph Humane Society to see if this is something they would consider. They were thrilled as so many dogs would clearly benefit from going out for a run. My son and I are going for our volunteer training in a couple of weeks. This will be followed up by the Guelph Humane Society Wiggle-Waggle-Walk-a-Thon race at the end of September.

I’m looking forward to sharing our running experiences, and of course, sharing a photo and talking about each of the dogs. So my blog will continue to be sprinkled with regular race stories intermingled with stories about running with shelter pooches. I couldn’t be more excited.

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