To Trot or Not
November 18, 2010 -
It’s almost time for your local Turkey Trot. You know… the 5K race most cities hold on Thanksgiving morning? It’s my favorite race of the year. Something about running 3.1 miles in the morning makes it easier to justify eating 3.1 pounds of food later in the day! My beloved German Shepherd, Kyra, has been a regular with me at the Trot for the last 3 years; however, this year I plan to leave her at home. “Why” might you ask? The short answer is: “because she doesn’t want to go.”
You might wonder how I know that she doesn’t want to go. After all, she didn’t tell me she didn’t want to go. After 9-1/2 years, I know my dog pretty darn well. I knew that we should do the little, podunk suburb Turkey Trot these last 3 years because it has about 500 people, not 5000 people. While Kyra does fine in crowds, she clearly doesn’t love it and I want my dog, my best friend, to have fun when we are together. So, for the last few years, she has tolerated the cold weather and crowds, and was thrilled to sleep away the rest of turkey day. It worked well for both of us. Sadly, she’s not a spring chicken anymore and while she would “trot” with the best of them this year, I know she’d be stiff and regretting it later. Instead, I’ll run the big race (woohoo) alone (bummer) and then she’ll get her regular walk. Rather than sleep away turkey day, she can come with me to family gatherings and hope food falls on the floor. Sounds like a better deal in her opinion anyway!
If you plan to take your dog to the Turkey Trot, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure dogs are allowed!
- Register your dog for the race, if required.
- Have current ID and the rabies certificate available.
- Have poop bags with you.
- Keep your dog on a short leash. Runners, walkers, and kids will be very erratic and you don’t want your dog to trip someone or get stepped on.
- Start at the back of the pack. Strollers and dogs are usually required to be at the back. You can always move up as the crowd thins out.
- Make sure your dog is well-socialized and would enjoy going. He should be in good physical shape and be very comfortable with all sorts of people and large crowds.
- Use an Easy Walk harness or Gentle Leader headcollar if he tends to be excitable and pull on leash.
- Consider the weather. Use a sweater/jacket or boots for your dog if necessary, but make sure he is acclimated to wearing those before the race.
- Take treats and water for him. There are usually water stations along the race, but having some, just in case, is a good idea. Treats can be great to practice his obedience before the race while standing around (it’ll give him something to do and get him focused on you).
On Thanksgiving, don’t forget to give thanks for your furry friends…
Happy Turkey Day!