November Local Athlete Spotlight: Guinness the Dog
I’ve known Guinness for most of his life. We adopted him from a shelter in Howard County almost 10 years ago. Had we known that his reputation was that of a wild and distractible kangaroo, we might not have brought him home, but all things happen for a reason, right? I can certainly say that he has taught me a level of patience that has come in handy for parenting little humans. Recently, I had the chance to spend some one-on-one time with him; we took a run through the woods together. Afterwards, as I patted his now-mostly-white snout, I asked him a few questions.
“Hey bud, what was one of your favorite workouts we’ve done together?” He reminded me of a 18-mile trail run we completed on a section of the NCR when he was a youngin’. “It was so cool, we met up with like 10 other guys from Falls Road, and I got to run in the middle of the pack off-leash!” He tells me that it was the freest he’d felt since he was found out in the wild. On the drive home, Guinness was nothing but a pile of pup; the fellas wore him (and me) out! He was built for longer efforts though.
Guinness was found wondering around the mountains of West Virginia with his brother. It seems that adventure found him early in life, and I was all about nurturing his inner-animal. Every Tuesday morning, we would complete a hilly five-mile trail route to a spot in the Little Patuxent River. There, I would let the big guy swim for 20 minutes or so before turning around to head back home. “It was like you were trying to RUN the puppy out of me, but I just had a ton of energy,” Guinness suggests. “Things were just different for us BK,” he adds. “BK Guinness? What are you talking about?” “Oh, sorry, Before Kids.”
Things certainly were different before kids. The house was quiet. The dogs consumed all the attention we had to give. Now, the place in like a whirling tornado, always shifting in noise and intensity. “The humans you are raising are so sweet, but I swear I see some of my younger self in them,” Guinness notes. I can tell you that he definitely knows about the silly switch that kids have; he had one too as a puppy.
Had Guinness been a child of the 90s, he most certainly would have found himself prescribed some Ritalin at some point. Those movies where the dog is locked into your command and attention, and then sees a squirrel…those scenes were modeled after our dog. That crazy one-eye-off-to-the-side stare has always been his signature look when surveying all that goes on in his environment. He still has it; he just uses it a bit less.
These days, I am lucky if I can get the dogs out for a morning and evening walk, and sprinkle in some yard play with the kids. I try to get the dogs to myself at least once a week to maintain our bond, but it doesn’t always happen. Dogs are great in that they adapt to the demands of the pack and, right now, most of those center around our kids. I told Guinness that I always enjoy our solo time in the woods, and I asked him where he wanted to go next. “Sorry, what was that you said? There was an Amazon box truck I had to bark at.”