Running and Stress Relief

Running and Stress Relief

I was beginning to think that Doctor Disco had forgotten about running, it had been so long since we went out together. I was really glad, though, that she didn’t decide we should hit the trails while it was raining. I’m all about a good run with my pack, but I don’t fancy cold rain. Running in the rain when it’s hot outside can be nice, and I do love going to the trails nearby with a lovely creek that runs through the woods, because Doc lets me off leash to splash some.

I wanted to write a bit about the role running plays for both me and Doc in our management of stress.  I know that Doc does things like meditation and whatnot to try to cope with the stressors of life – she has a lot more than I do – but I can always tell when she’s not all there, and when things are wearing on her. Dogs know these things, and I’m very close with Doctor Disco. Did I tell you she’s a teacher? She is, and so she spends an enormous amount of time at her desk, downstairs in her studio, where she put a lovely bed for me. She got me a great, comfy corner dog bed for the studio, by the way – I’ll talk more about that later, after we talk about stress.

So it was Saturday, and she spent all day there, at her computer, working. I could tell it was really getting to her, and her tone was sharp (not with me, never with me) and she tossed and turned that night. When we got up, she had breakfast and went right back to work. By lunch time, she was foul. The smell of stress just radiated off of her, and I could tell from her body language, and her tone, that she was moving into the red zone.

Finally, her companion (her human companion, that is – I’ll just call him Rory because that’s another Doctor Who character), he came downstairs with a drink for her. I could tell he was a little worried (I smell worry, too, like I smell stress), and he said, “You know, you COULD go ahead and go for an R-U-N, you know. It’s not raining.”

Doctor Disco is my dearest friend, and I love her very much, but sometimes she’s…well, she’s not very smart. She and Rory think that they can spell “run” and I don’t know what they are talking about. I get really, really excited when they actually say it, though, because then I know we’re going. I know what they’re spelling, just fine, but I also know that that means things aren’t set yet. Once they quit spelling, and Doc pulls out her running bra and shoes, I know we are on. That’s when I let the puppy in me out to play, and I dance around to let her know how much I really do, indeed, want to go for an R-U-N.

Jeez. Those two. They’re adorable, but they don’t really know how silly they are sometimes.

Anyway, we headed to the trails, and went for our run, and had a wonderful time. The stress went away from her as soon as we got started, and I frolicked and played and jumped into a very deep puddle – it went up to my chest – and Doc just laughed. She smelled so much better.

When we exercise, whether it’s as a dog or as a human, we’re doing something that our bodies are built to do, intended to do, and need to do. We need to move, and when we don’t our health, both emotional and physical, suffers as a result. High energy breeds (I’m a mix between a boxer and a hound of some description) need more exercise, just like puppies do, but just like people, it does differ from dog to dog. Some dogs need a couple of walks a day, and a good rule of thumb if you’re dealing with a puppy is to walk your pup 5 minutes for each month she’s been alive.  So a 12 week puppy can take you for a 15 minute walk in the morning and in the afternoon. You can manage that, right? Tinier dogs have tinier legs, so they’re not going to go as far if you’re walking them, but they might also prefer one walk and a little bit of fetch in the back yard or the park, if you’ve got something like that. Not everyone is lucky enough to live somewhere with a lot of room, though, so if all your person can give you is a walk, then that’s fine. Balls are pretty stellar, though. And sticks. I love a good stick.

But the long and short of it is that we ran about 4 1/2 miles, and boy, was I happy to do it. Doc laughed, and danced, and I ran right beside her the whole way. I could tell her heart was happy and strong, and that we both were happy to be out and together.

When we got home, I was really, really happy to see my wonderful bed in Doc’s studio, because that’s where we had to go right back to for her work, and I stayed in that bed all evening. My bed is a corner dog bed that Doc got on Amazon. I love it – I can lay on my back, on my side, I can  jump on it – it’s awesome. Soft, sturdy, and it gives me lots of room without taking up a lot of room in her little studio. My bed is called a “Hidden Valley Corner Bolster Bed,” and I’m glad it has the bolsters – I do like to have someplace to rest my head sometimes. Especially after a hard run.

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