Homework with my dog Blue

Song: “I Don’t Care,” Fallout Boy
“Mom, when can I stop doing homework?” my first-grader lamented, as she held her math homework up in the air and rocked on my bed.
“You officially stop in college. But you’ll always have homework to do,” I replied, as I sat beside her.
Then we went over her assignment and got to work.
My homework at the moment involves our beagle-mix, Blue.

I tried running with Blue during the summer. It was a disaster. He barked and chased everything — other runners, bicyclists, bunnies, trash flying in the wind, etc.
After Blue almost made a bicyclist fall off his bike, I decided to end my running relationship with Blue.
I was happy to be free, but whenever I laced up, Blue looked at me and waited for his leash as he sat by the door.
He was born to run. He didn’t care what everyone thought. He just needed the exercise.
After reading Runner’s World’s “Complete Book of Running,” I decided to run with Blue again. The book lists running with a dog as a way to deter unsavory characters from visiting you during a run. Quite a few such characters hang out near the rail-trail I run on.
Despite Blue’s smallish stature, he can seem quite vicious.
So far this winter, the runs have been better. I’m more prepared for his hunting mode. I’m faster, so I keep up when he goes into tracking mode.
He now chases fallen leaves, along with the people, but Blue’s good company.
When I’m struggling, Blue listens to my pep talk and doesn’t roll his eyes (at least I don’t see him do it). He’s always ready to go and is a natural interval coach.
I just need to keep working with him. I want him to be ready for spring and summer, when all the other athletes decide to come out.
Blue doesn’t care what people think — he just runs. And thanks to my furry friend, I am learning to do so too.
If you’re interested in running with a dog, check out this article from “Runner’s World,” http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/breed-apart.

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