Along with training for a 100 miler, taking two summer courses and working 25-30 hours a week this summer, I've been taking dog classes with Cohen in hopes to get him CGC certified through the American Kennel Club so he (we) can be part of the pet therapy program at the local hospital(s) in Kalamazoo (no, I don't really sleep). We started in January with 'Beginner' level, and we are now almost done with 'Advanced'. He's doing very well, except he has major separation anxiety. This isn't news to me. In fact, it's painfully obvious. However, in part of the CGC test, the dog and owner must be separated and the dog must remain calm. In class, we work on this by switching dogs with each other and walking them around the store. Unfortunately, Cohen can't be a part of this, because he won't budge unless I am right by his side. Because of this, we do our own separate exercise, which is where I leave the room and the trainer (Holly) stays with Cohen inside the room and tries to distract him from my absence. To paint the picture for you, our classes are in PetSmart, in a room that has half-walls and windows all of the way around it. I'm not sure if you've ever been in a PetSmart at 1pm on a Saturday, but everyone and their annoying child is there. They have pet adoptions going on in the back, which makes it even more popular. This past Saturday was one for the books.
Our trainer Holly had a trainee named Kelly, so our class was three dogs, three owners, and two trainers. While doing the separation exercise, Kelly thought she could handle walking Cohen around the store while I stayed in the training room - a bold move, even for an experienced trainer, let alone a rookie. When she took his leash and started to walk, he wouldn't budge. To get him going, Kelly and I both started jogging towards the door, and Cohen followed us. When we got to the threshold, I stopped running and Cohen continued on with Kelly. My heart swelled a bit with pride as I saw that long, boney tail and tall haunches trotting off without me; without a care in the world. I scooted myself behind the door so if he were to turn he couldn't see me, and Holly and I started talking. Not one half of one minute later, there was a ruckus. And I mean a ruckus. I heard people shout things like "Oh my God!", "Look out!" and "Someone, catch him!" My proud heart deflated and sank into my stomach. I stepped into the doorway just in time to see Cohen come barreling around a corner and down the aisle towards the training room. Cohen is, for the most part, quite graceful, but he was not "light on this feet" on this Saturday afternoon. That, combined with a tile floor and slippery paws was a recipe for disaster. In his fleeting, frantic moments to find me, he knocked over a display of toys. Squeaky toys. He kept trying to get up but failed, as his paws kept slipping on the soft cloth toys that were slipping on the tile, and squeaking noises ranging from 3 to 4 different octaves. After this went on for what seemed like minutes, he got his shit together and trotted into the training room and pushed his entire head into my hip ("Oh my God, mom! I found you! Finally!"). I picked my jaw up from the floor and looked up to see Kelly, the trainee, standing down the aisle with Cohen's collar and leash in hand.
tuesday 9 at al sabo
wednesday Lower body workout, plus 7 with steve at Al Sabo, 3 with cohen, 4 at Urban Herd with Becka. My legs should have been seriously trashed, but at the end of this day they felt pretty damn nice. The 7 at Al Sabo with Steve was pretty speedy for me, coming in at 50/51 minutes, but it felt good. The 3 with Cohen were nice and easy, as was the 4 at Urban Herd.
thursday 3 with Cohen at the IM fields. I spent 30 minutes chasing him around non-stop, which turned into a bit of a speed workout in some weird way. It kept getting harder and harder to do more pick-ups, and to keep up with him. It was definitely over 3, but who knows for sure.
friday 10 at Custer with Joe and Erin. This run totally sucked for my body but the company was, of course, the most enjoyable I could ask for. Afterwards, I said to Erin I was disappointed because I don't want to feel that shitty at this point, two weeks out from a race. She said "You have to have the shitty runs to have the good runs. You know that." I do know that. I was thankful for the reminder.
saturday 10 at the arbs alone. Contrary to the day before, this run was amazing. I felt perfect, and it was fast. My feet were absolutely flying and everything else fell into place.
sunday 4 in the morning before work on the roads. Just a little loop from the apartment to get the day going. Debated doubling at dirty herd after work, but came home for the evening instead.
Which is where I'm blogging from now. Which is here: