About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed four 100 mile trail races and many other ultramarathons. I spend countless hours running in the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, TX. I call it "going to church". I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Taz: Devil, Runner, Escape Artist

If there was such a thing as a Hairless Tasmanian dog, I’m pretty sure I own one. In my last post I wrote about two of my dogs, Lucy and Sierra. Today I’m going to tell you about Taz, the hairless mutt that showed up on our doorstep and decided to stay.

One day when I came home from work, Cara had an apologetic look on her face and instructed me to look in the backyard. When I did, I saw a scrawny little guy who looked like the runt of a junk yard dog. Well, at least he was small and if you overlooked his semi-hairless condition, he was sort of cute.

I had recently gotten used to running with two medium sized dogs who got along very well. What would Lucy and Sierra think of this weird looking guy encroaching on our perfect relationship? Maybe the owners will show up looking for their Tasmanian. No such luck.

Taz was an extremely overexcited puppy who got into everything. He loved to chew, especially straps. By the way, did you know that you can get your Chaco sandals re-webbed? When we took our dogs to Pawderosa Ranch for boarding, Taz continuously escaped from the play area, so the owners finally designated him a “greeter”. He remained at the reception desk and welcomed all the patrons as they entered.

Several years ago, we moved into a new house and Taz kept breaking out of the yard. I reinforced the gate and fence to no avail. Cara finally had to set up a video camera to discover how he was getting out. He had learned how to climb a wrought iron gate, squeeze through the bars at the top, and leap down to the other side.

Must watch video of Taz (turn sound up to hear Lucy scold him)

We needed a way to drain this dogs pent up energy, so I had to figure a way to run with three dogs. Cara and I started out by teaching him to walk on a leash. Fortunately, he was not a “puller” and we had many walks with our pup before I tried to run with him. I was used to running with Lucy on one side of me and Sierra on the other which worked out perfectly. I now had to run with two on one side and Taz on the other.

At first the little grey guy liked to switch sides and run around behind me. This maneuver made me stumble and almost end up face down in the street. Soon he figured things out though, and stayed on his side. Pooping was his favorite past time while on our jaunts, so we bought him a backpack so he could, not only carry the cleanup bags, but also a few rocks for added energy drainage.

After many months of trial and tribulation, we finally developed a running routine. I have been exercising with my three favorite canines for three years and it seems normal now. Taz is still very hyper and can be seen zooming in the back yard or frantically jumping on us when we return home.

A funny thing happened to him the other day, but I have to first say that he chewed a hole in our bed comforter several years ago. I may seem to be digressing, but stay with me. Our comforter is the type with a thin cover that fits over the fluffy part. The outside part easily comes off for tossing in the washing machine (a must with three dogs). We purchased a new one, but haven’t used it yet. Why should we do that when he may chew another hole in it? Flip it over and it's good as new. Right?

Since Taz has little fur to keep him warm, he loves to snuggle under the covers. Perfect for winter camping trips, but not so much in the summer. Several days ago, I was napping when he decided he needed under the bed spread. When I awoke, I left him under there nice and cozy and went about my business. Several hours later Cara found the comforter on the floor and wondered, “what gives?” When she tried to pick it up, the poor little rapscallion had entered through his chewed hole and was trapped between the comforter and the cover. After a little assistance from Cara, he poked his tiny nose out through the hole and, when he realized he was finally free, rocketed out of there like nobody’s business. We never have a dull moment around here with three dogs and a cat. (No, I don’t run with the cat).

As much as I like writing about my pets, I would much rather be blogging about an up-coming race. The sad truth is that I’m still recovering from heel pain (PF), but there seems to be a slight improvement. After a month of physical therapy, I m looser in the calves and hips and have better dorsiflexion in the ankles. The therapist says things are in place for healing and that I should slowly get over it.

I thought training for and running a 100 mile trail race was difficult, but not being able to run for six months has been grueling. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic that this injury will pass and I’ll be back on the trail in the future. In the mean time, I continue to swim at the pool and bike with my dogs. I’d take them to the pool too, but am not sure how that would go over with the other swimmers.

See you on the trail.


  1. Love the video! Maybe if you fatten him up, he won't be able to squeeze through the bars!

  2. His energy level is too high to fatten him up. He just burns off the calories. I put a piece of plywood up there so he couldn't climb anymore.

  3. Top dog! That's hilarious Greg :-) I take it he hasn't found a way around / through / over the plywood yet then!

    Glad to hear your foot is on the mend and that things are moving in the right direction. Hang in there and it will all come together soon and you'll be back on the trails again!

  4. Fun post, Greg. I feel your misery about the dogs, but usually it's good to have them along :)