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.."I just wish I could still run with Dixie too, she's a bit too old, tired and arthritic now to get much fun out of it...."

My heart aches for Dixie. I have been doing long distance running with my dogs on the green belt around Austin for many years, and have sadly watched as first, a beloved Lab and later, my first and awesome Rhodesian Ridgeback passed away of old age, and then as another elderly Rhodesian has developed too much arthritis to effectively run with me any more. On the other hand, my two 9 month old Viszla puppies have extraordinary energy and seemingly can run forever - they'd rather still play and hate to get into the back of the SUV after a 12 or 13 mile run, whereas I'm feeling fairly spent. And we can still honor the arthritic Ridgeback by taking him to the dog park to socialize along with the pups later in the day.

I highly recommend running with your dogs if they are large enough and have the cardiovascular capacity to handle it. You don't have to make a commitment for a specific time and place (as you do with your friends) and the continuous smiles on their faces make it a far more rewarding experience than running on your own. In our family tradition, we stop at the local Taco Cabana or Wendy's for fahitas or burgers for them afterward (as opposed to me just getting my super-sized Diet Coke).

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