I broke the dog :(

Yesterday, I took my brother’s dog (Niner) for a run with me.  I’d planned on running along the shoreline for 2 miles, and then turning around and running back to complete 4 miles total.  I didn’t take into account that poor Niner is overweight, out of shape, and completely unused to moving around on anything rougher than hardwood floors… and the trail along the shoreline is gravel.

She did pretty well for about the first 1.5 miles.  Then around mile 2 I noticed she wasn’t keeping up.  And she was favoring one of her paws.  I stopped to check her out and saw a little bit of damage on the pad of each paw.  The paw she was favoring had the worst damage.  I felt so terrible – I’d unintentionally abused her through negligence and ignorance.  I tried to carry her, but she’s easily 80-100 pounds.  Even with her as docile as could be, I couldn’t carry her very far.

We eventually made it back to the car.  I cleaned off her paws.  Luckily there was no blood.  She didn’t cry or whimper.  I took her home and called my brother.  He called the vet and described the damage.  The vet said that it’s the equivalent of the blisters we get when we walk in ill-fitting shoes or do yard work without gloves.  We’re supposed to keep her paws clean and watch for infection, but they should heal on their own.

I still feel awful.  The poor dog was just doing as I asked.  I figured she’d be tired by the end of it, but I didn’t think about the gravel on her paws.  I know better for next time.  I won’t repeat that mistake again.

My brother says that once Niner’s paws are healed he’ll work on toughening them up with longer walks in the neighborhood, and then working their way along less paved trails in the hills.  The movement will do them both good.  And I’ll hopefully be able to join them along the way.

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