If Running is the Epitome of a Quality Life, then I'm DOOMED.
—The Broken Oreo Philosophy—
One thing you deal with when caring for dogs with mobility issues is the occasional naysayer. The people who doubt your dog’s abilities and are pretty darn sure your dog is suffering. Despite the lack of medical knowledge of these people, they know your dog’s quality of life is lacking. Nothing, not even the big words you’ve learned from hundreds of trips to the vet, will convince them otherwise. One of the common questions I hear from this type of person is, “How can he/she even run?”
I gotta tell you, if being able to run is the ultimate deciding factor in whether or not a life is worth living, then I’m doomed.
There are endless studies and articles showing that humans were made to run. We evolved to be incredible long distance runners, some say better than any other creature on earth. Our livelihood depended on it. While not as crucial to our survival these days, our bodies are still built for running. Except mine. I am NOT a runner. I more closely resemble a potato than those running cavemen of old. Millions of people think running is relaxing and just the best thing EVER. Those people are not me.
My body detests running. I have pitifully flat feet, painful bunions forming at the ripe age of almost 30, my dad’s inherently bad knees, terrible ear aches when I move faster than a brisk walk, a deviated septum which strains breathing, and the dumbest kind of asthma called “exercise induced asthma.” It’s almost as if I can hear my body screaming, “I swear brain, if you like, make me run two more feet, I’m going to like, literally die ON PURPOSE.” I don’t know why my body sounds so basic, maybe the endless wearing of yoga pants for no reason.
I must be miserable, right? What’s the point of my existence if I can’t even run? People, please tell me you can smell the sarcasm that sentence was drenched in. I’m fine. I may not ever be seen sprinting down a path, but I get where I need to go, and I get there in just as high spirits (if not better) than if I had run. Having the ability to run, and not being able to, doesn’t make my life less worth living. Running is not my purpose, it’s not why I love my life.
Dogs, if you ask me, exist only to show us what love, happiness, and loyalty truly look like. Just like with humans, running can be enjoyable and, at some point in the past, was a vital part of their existence; but not anymore. Dogs are like children, they are a bunch of sporadic maniacs with seemingly boundless energy, but even children with mobility disabilities have meaningful lives. Dogs with mobility issues are no different. They are happy, bouncy, and thriving. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, dogs are incredibly adaptive creatures.
So, to answer the question, “How do they even run?” Well, they do what they can with what they have. And even if they can’t “run” in a traditional sense, they are still perfectly fine with that. They find a way to move that works for them and they do it without complaint or self pity.
If humans are built to run, but can live perfectly normal lives without partaking in the sport, why can’t we wrap our heads around the same being true to dogs? Just because we all should have the ability to run, doesn’t mean we HAVE to.
Gosh, I certainly hope no one tries to put me down after reading this.