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'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Running With My Dogs Not Dawgs

You could say we are a dog family. The women in our family have a habit of bringing home the homeless or perhaps the homeless just know where to show up and look cute. The men just take it all in stride because what’s a guy to do? My in-laws have 5 dogs, my sister-in-law has 2 and my wife Cara and I have 3. When we have family gatherings at the BR ranch (Neely Homestead) there are upwards of a dozen dogs hangin’ 'round. When the gangs all there, the neighbor ranch dogs like to come over and play too.

To keep things sane around the ranch, my job is to exercise the dog pack so they are good and tired out by the end of the day. This is good for both me and them. I run almost every morning that I’m at the BR with anywhere from 5 to 10 dogs. We usually run along a very secluded desert road where there is no traffic thus no need for leashes. Today I would like to introduce you to my running dogs and tell about their roles in the pack.

Buddy, Base Camp Manager:

Cara’s sister picked Buddy up off the freeway when he was tossed from a car many years ago. He is a black terrier mix and is quite the grump. Do not ever try to pick him up or mess with his food. He is getting up there in age and can’t run for very long anymore so he stays home and guards the food ‘till we return from our adventures.

Scout, Couch Warmer:

‘Ol Scout was also a stray that my Mother–in-Law, Betsy took in. She also is not able to run for long distances, but still enjoys tagging along on our horse rides. She is a short haired yellow mix of unknown breeds. Scout usually stays back and keeps Buddy company.

Skippy, Spectator:

‘Lil Skip or Skipper Doodle is a tiny little Chihuahua mix that Betsy found at school where she teaches. He unfortunately had to have a joint operated on last year, but he is walking just fine now. His legs are too short for him to run with the big dogs, so he stays back and watches the finish line to see who wins.

Harry, Front Runner:

Harry as in Potter for the little birth mark on his nose is a black and white medium sized dog who was also a stray that Betsy took in. Are you seeing a trend here? Harry is quite the athlete. With experience as an agilitator – is that a word? One who negotiates dog agility courses?—and herder he is always out in front of the pack. When I come outside for my morning run, he leaps about 6 feet high in excitement and can’t wait for the starting pistol.

Quasimodo, Tracker:

Quasi is a little beagle mix that, you guessed it, was found at school by Betsy. When we run he is forever with his nose to the ground baying all the time; tracking whatever animals may have left their scent. He got so carried away on one run that he got separated from the pack and was gone for 3 hours after the rest of us returned. Quasi makes such a racket with his barking that he startles the Border Patrol as they sit watching our southern border. You should see the look on their faces when we come charging up the road at 6am.

Lucy, Personal Trainer:

Lucy Liu, a freckled white and brown  dog was found in our former neighborhood with her sister Sierra. She is the kind of tough love dog that will not leave me alone until I put on my shoes and get outside for my daily training run. She is high strung, all muscle, and very buff like Richard Simmons. I always feel guilty when I can’t get to our workout so she is very good for me. She keeps me focused on achieving my goals.

Sierra, Pacer:

Sierra, a nice fluffy brown dog, was found with her sister Lucy. She is the opposite in that she is very laid back and easy going. When we run she stays very close to me when the others are off sniffing, tracking, and chasing. Her pace is steady as a rock which helps me to not go out too fast. Her race strategy is much like many of us middle aged runners --start off slow then ease up; what’s the hurry?

Taz, Brave Runt:

Taz, short for Tasmanian Devil, is just a tiny little grey guy. He is our special dog, because he was born with little to no hair. When people ask me what kind of dog he is I can only respond with Hairless Tasmanian. Poor guy doesn’t even know that he is so weird, but he makes up for it by being so brave. Once our dog pack chased after some javelinas, a pig like animal with big teeth and tusks. All the dogs surrounded one javalina while li’l Taz went after the other all by himself. It was all I could do to call him off. Taz truly believes that everything is bigger in Texas including himself.

Ruegen, Bird Watcher:

Ruegen, my Sister and Brother-in-Laws’ dog, is a German Short Haired Pointer. Like Lucy, he is high strung and keeps his owners moving. I love watching him go after a Frisbee and catch it in mid air. Pointers were bred for bird hunting so he loves hangin’ out at the ranch and flushing quail. The Neely Ranch is home to the Gambel’s Quail with that cool little plume on top of their heads. Ruegen is fast and furious on our running adventures and he once, like Quasi, got separated from the pack. He made it back in time for breakfast though.

Buddy, Sweeper:

Buddy (yes there are 2) also belongs to my Sister and Brother-in-law and was acquired to keep Ruegen company. He is a Bassett Hound who can keep up with the pack on walks despite his short legs. This always amazes me because Bassett Hounds look like they have seal flippers instead of front feet -- the way they point out. Buddy always brings up the rear, sweeping the course to make sure there are no stragglers left behind.

Bush, Survivor:

“Butch” is the neighbor rancher’s dog, a German Shepherd mix. When we first asked the dog’s name, the Mexican-American rancher, with his accent, replied “Booosh”. For years we thought his name was Butch, but later learned that it was actually Bush. I think he was named after Bush, the baked bean company. I can’t imagine who else he could possibly be named after. Anyway, he has 9 lives, because he has encountered some pretty close scrapes with death. He was poisoned when some other ranchers baited some coyotes and once he was bitten by a rattle snake. Butch loves to run and somehow knows when we are visiting even though he lives a half mile away.

Lucy and Sierra go on a hike


My personal trainer works out on the treadmill

The big race: Texas Fix'em 5K, San Marcos Texas

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