Shelter 18 – 09.07.2018 Canil Sao Martinho, Portugal
This is a private shelter with around 12 dogs. Most are older and dare I say, chubby. I called them the Fat Camp Kids! All are lovely, sweet dogs who obviously receive a good diet! There are 3 shifts per day.
My afternoon walking shift went like this:
Take the dogs from their kennels and attach to a chain outside. Then, one or two at a time, go for a walk. These guys were plus size models and I’m guessing probably didn’t get to run much. I’d been feeling a little portly myself, so took the opportunity to give us all a workout. Running was the tonic and running is what we did. Badly.
I’m a terrible runner – no form, arms and legs flailing everywhere. I have been told I run like Chewbacca! As he is one of my all-time favourite characters (who couldn’t love a giant, groaning dog?!), I somehow take this as a compliment. I know I shouldn’t. My canine compadres were just as bad.
A few dogs didn’t need chains, so were loose. One was Poppy, who looked like Wicket from Return of the Jedi. She was feisty as hell, but hard to take seriously due to her comedy Ewok face! In fact, looking at me and my camp crew, you could easily believe we were on a Star Wars film set. A rag tag crew of podgy intergalactic misfits!
Every day we ran. I told them it was HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), but in reality we stopped often to catch our breath and avoid passing out. By the end of the week we were athletes, ready to compete. Not really, we were still plus size misfits, but I definitely felt better. I can’t speak for my teammates!
On the final day I took Brown first. He was the fastest of the bunch and would actually drag me. Running with him made me laugh. That out of control, childish laugh you do when running down a hill. Half exhilarated, half terrified. I would have visions of breaking my ankle as I was pulled over the uneven ground, but nothing could stop the laughter – or Brown!
After our run I attached him to a chain with a bucket of water and clipped up the next two. When we returned Brown and the chain were missing. My lack of understanding of chains highlighted once again. Momentary panic. Then the realisation these were Fat Camp Kids – chubby, older, less inclined to try and find a new life? I walked round the fields again, scanning the area, calling.
Orlane turned up and I told her. She looked concerned. Apparently Brown had done this a couple of times before and run for miles. He would be difficult to find. Now I was worried.
The search began. I took a few dogs with me, but no sign. When I returned Orlane received a call from a lady at the Intermarche down the road. She had Brown. Phew! Minutes later she walked over with him and put him away. He looked exhausted! Apparently he was easy to catch because he was so tired. They said it was good I had run off most of his energy. I think they were trying to make me feel better. I felt awful.
I knew it before, but Brown confirmed once again just how much dogs LOVE to run! I believe they were born to do it. Birds fly and dogs run. I’ve never seen greater joy on a dogs face than when they are running. Having said that, not all my Fat Camp buddies wore that expression!!!
Fortunately we ended our week on a high. A little bit fitter, a little bit wiser. I’ll definitely stick with running, but not take myself too seriously. Dogs certainly don’t.
Running with dogs I feel like a child, with the weight of the world falling from my shoulders. As in life, the more out of control it is, the more alive I feel and the more I find myself laughing! With my furry friends enjoying themselves too, I’m happy.
If fresh air, exercise and laughter are the remedy to a happy life, having a dog is surely the route. Enjoy your dog walk/run today. Enjoy dogs!