whoever they is, that the right dog will come into your life when you are ready for it. For 10 years I talked, and dreamed, and thought about having a dog. A four-legged bud to run trails with, a pup to accompany me on road trips, and a fuzzy body to warm my feet while I worked from home.
I wanted to have that I just knew it when I saw her moment.
As I closed in on a full 10 years of longing for a dog, I put a deadline on myself: If I didn’t find a pup by Christmas 2016, then I needed to stop talking about it and realise that I really wasn’t living a life that could accommodate a dog. It sounds harsh, but 10 years is a long time of travelling the world, training and racing ultra marathons, moving homes – 11 times in 11 years – and balancing a schedule that was anything but dog friendly. But, I now own a home that has access to trails. The timing felt right.
HER NAME, PIEDRA,
came to me about a month before we met. I was running down the Fragrance Lake trail in Chuckanut, Washington. While bouncing over the rocks my mind wandered along a spaghetti-like train of thought. What would it be like to share the trails with my pup? What will she look like? What will I call her? And as I landed firmly on a rock step, it hit me.
Piedra means rock or stone in Spanish,
and is a feminine noun. I received a minor in Spanish at the University of Washington and liked the connection. Add my love of trail running, the rocks that make up the technical trails where I live, and the stable visual a rock offers — I felt like I found a perfect name. When people told me about owning a dog and the impact that unconditional love and consistency a dog has in one’s life, my little rock, Piedra, felt appropriate. And sure enough, little PD came into my world December 15, 2016, ten days before Christmas.
PD IS THE WIGGLY-EST PUP I KNOW
…for everyone else. When visitors arrive or we run into anyone on the street her little bum goes into hyper-wiggle mode, her ears fall back making her eyes bulge in anticipation of rump scratches and high pitched notes from the other humans… “Oooooo, she’s sooooo cute!” She brings it on and seems to love it.
MY FAVOURITE GREETING
When I arrive home from an errand and let her out of her room, she’ll give me a sniff, accept some scratches on her head, and then wander into the living room to find her favourite toy or drag another favourite out and shake it violently — letting me know it is time to play. It is my favourite greeting and I wish others could know this side of her. But then again, this special greeting is reserved for me.
As PD’s companion, I feel exceptionally loved
and singled out by the devotion she reserves for me. We both love to be loved and to show love — our favourite time is just after the alarm goes off, when she scoots up from the foot of the bed and I wake up giving her scratches and belly rubs. It is a lovely way to transition from sleep to the day and serves as an amazing check in for both of us.
YET WE ARE BOTH INDEPENDENT SOULS
that have come together to be there for one another. Some of our best collaborations come from our distinct needs. I need time at my computer, focused on work. PD is either at (on) my feet, or on the blanket under the window across the room, strategically positioned so she can have one eye on me at all times. PD, in turn, needs to play. She needs to run in circles, bark a bit, be chased and chase her toys — and she’ll make me chase her if I get too serious.
WHERE WE SHINE
Her need for play makes me smile when I need it most, and reminds me to get out of my own head at just the right time. A huge part of the athlete life and also meeting my most core need is integrating movement on a daily basis. Honestly, this is where WE shine. Whether linked by leash or eye contact, PD and I are each our best selves on trails. We both seem to thrive on the cushy trails that are right out our door. We run along, check in with each other, do our own thing, but do it together.