While humans are on stay-at-home orders throughout the United States, you may have noticed an increase of dogs going out for walks in your neighborhoods and parks. Suddenly, dogs who rarely set paw on the paths, are freed from their homes for the exercise that they have longed for. The quarantine and stay-at-home orders seem to have worked in the opposite direction for dogs throughout the United States — including Michigan. There is no doubt that this is due to the incredible work ethic of Michiganders. Michiganders are part of the "midwest work ethic" where you certainly don't have time for much outside of work obligations. If you are a pet owner who is seeing the benefits of this increase in activity for your dog(s), I thought it would be helpful to share a guide of signals your dog(s) might use to show you that they need more exercise when life returns to "normal" for us humans.
We (Dogs Who Jog & Pacific Hound) specifically chose the dates for our Take a Jog & Save a Dog Virtual 5k to align with the Iditarod. While we both were fortunate to learn about the Iditarod while growing up in Michigan, we realize that many individuals live in areas where this famous sled dog race isn't talked about. One of our goals is to spread awareness of this incredible event, which is why I asked my good friend, Katie Kellner, to contribute to this blog post.
Katie Kellner, the business owner of Forward Focus Running, grew up in New Jersey where she also learned about the Iditarod in school. Katie has continued to follow this famous sled dog race yearly and is super passionate about sharing information about this event. You might also remember Katie from her heroic rescue of a man and dog in September 2019.
Here is Katie's writing about the Iditarod:
You might be wondering what a virtual race is. A virtual race is set up so that participants can complete the race from anywhere in the world, on any terrain, with any company they choose, at any pace (walking, running, jogging, hiking, wheelchair, or handcycling). We mail you your race packet which contains everything you need, you complete the 5k anytime between 3/7/20-3/15/20 and then email us your results & photos. Sound fun enough? If you're already convinced about the brilliance of this idea, click here for registration.
To be honest, the first time I heard about a virtual 5k I was not a supporter of it and I just didn’t understand the draw. I mean, why would I sign-up for a 5k event to complete alone and then email my results to the race organizer? The list of questions inside my head grew as I speculated the motive behind individuals creating these events and participants registering for these events.
Then, one day, I started thinking about how we (Dogs Who Jog and Pacific Hound) could partner together to attempt to change negative perceptions of virtual races and bring awareness to the benefits of a virtual race. Rather than challenging the reasons a virtual race shouldn't work, I started thinking about the reasons it should work.
Here are the top 5 reasons why I stand behind our Take a Jog & Save a Dog Virtual 5k:
For the last 6 years, I have been holding a dog leash in my hand when running with dogs. This also usually involves managing to hold a car key, poop bags, and my phone (I always run with my phone when running with pups in case of emergencies). Of course the winter months are easier because I wear jackets or vests with pockets when running - but, it has been an extra challenge during the summer months.
A few weeks into beginning my volunteer running with dogs at the Humane Society of Macomb, I met Nick. Nick instantly fell in love with running, and I of course, instantly fell in love with Nick.
This is Nick's story:
We are surrounded by articles, news, social media accounts, and blogs that share the benefits of healthy lifestyles and exercise for humans. Trends of the next new, latest and greatest exercise and diets are always evolving with individuals ready to test them as they look for new additions and changes to connect to a healthy lifestyle.
While society has come to accept the benefits that exercise extends to humans, this brings a question to all of us dog owners: are there benefits to exercise for our dogs?