Retraining the Trainer

It’s no secret that Rigo is in better shape than I am, but in my defense, he’s seven in human years. Have you ever tried to race a seven-year-old? You will lose. Every time. And then, later that night, they’ll still be up for running around when all you can think about is laying on the couch. Yeah, that’s pretty much the same experience with a puppy.

However, Rigs also had some down time this summer. We did about a 3/4 mile walk every morning, but our days of running on the greenbelt have been long gone. I wasn’t running much and it was just too hot. However, I’ve been taking him on parts of my runs on the weekend mornings and he’s been okay – enthusiastic as always, but earlier this week I took him out for a little play time around 5pm and the start of a summer storm had blown in and the weather felt nice (keep in mind it’s been 110 degrees here every day for months so when it hits 90s, I’m breaking out my sweatshirts), so I decided to head out on the longer loop near my house – our old 1.75 mile route.

Long story short, Rigs didn’t handle it well. We got very close to home, but he gave up and spread eagle on some gravel. He’s usually such a trooper and add to that a lady (who was just trying to be helpful) rolled down her window and told me to be careful because her dog gets heat stroke. Cue my freak out. I picked up the little one and carried him most of the rest of the way. His little body was so warm and he was just panting his little heart out.

He didn’t want his treat when we got home, which I kind of figured he wouldn’t, but he did drink his water and let me rub his head and paws with a cool, wet cloth, which was recommended when I of course Googled “heat stroke in dogs” the second I walked in the door.

I know not to leave him in cars, not to leave him outside (even if it means leaving him out of family get-togethers because a certain someone in my family has decided her house is not dog-friendly) and in the really hot part of the summer, I made sure our mid-day walks were strictly business (in a condo, ALL potty breaks have to be walks), but I didn’t consider that even though 90s feels like a nice, cool break to me, I’m not covered in fur and walking on hot pavement with my bare tootsies.  It was selfish of me and scary enough that I’m sticking to our morning or nighttime walks until it’s cool enough and slowly working his mileage up. Even dogs need to retrain for the season!

Oh, the end of the long story short is that he eventually cooled off and his breathing eased up, he ate his treat and his dinner and took a little nap before running his usual suicide drills (back and forth between two imaginary lines in my bedroom and office) while I laid on the couch - too much excitement for a dogmom in one day!

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