On August 5, 2001, Judy and I decided to take Latte Dog on a run around Miramar Lake (5 miles one loop). I was curious to see whether see could do it. On the one hand, she’s not in the best shape. On the other hand, she’s a dog, and dogs love to run, right?
Being August, we tried to go relatively early in the morning before it got too hot. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the lake until around 10 and by then it was already starting to warm up. We began our run. Of course, since it was right at the start, Latte was full of energy and enthusiasm and continuously bounded ahead to the limit of her leash.
We continued our run. Around mile 2 or so, you could tell that Latte was getting a bit tired. I slowed down my pace and told Judy to keep on running ahead. Generally, if Judy is running in front of me, Latte will try to keep up with Judy. As Latte got more tired, she would bound up ahead to try to get next to Judy and then fade back to me. After a few minutes, she’d bound ahead again, and then inevitably fade back to me. Kind of like a yo-yo. Since Latte and I were slowing down and Judy was continuing her pace ahead, Latte’s efforts became more and more futile as she watched Judy get further and further ahead. Soon, Judy was out of sight.
I thought Latte might be overheating so I took her to a shady area to cool off. She was breathing very hard and even though we were stopped and resting, she continued to breathe that way. We sat there for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes and I decided that we should continue on. I didn’t think she could run anymore so we just walked. We finally reached the water fountain (I think it’s around mile 3) and I figured she would be thirsty. Latte’s typically too stupid to drink out of a fountain even if you put her nose to the water. I didn’t have to do that, however, since there was actually a dog bowl there which I could fill up with water from the fountain. Despite my encouragement, unfortunately, Latte had no interest in drinking.
The only way back was to finish the loop so we had to continue. As we walked, Latte started to look ahead for shady areas (there weren’t very many as the sun was out in full force). Once she spotted one, she’d make a bee line towards it and once she reached it, she’d promptly plop down until I tugged at her to move on. She was obviously not doing too good!
We had no choice but to continue. I’d let her rest in the shade every now and then, and then tug the leash to get her going again. At around 3.5 mile or so, Latte spotted a shady area and made straight for it and plunked herself down. I passed her and as the leash extended, I did my customary tug. I didn’t look back but could feel that she wasn’t budging so I tugged harder. I glanced back and realized that I was in fact dragging Latte along the ground on her side! Her tongue was hanging out and she was continuing to pant like mad. If you can picture it, you’ll likely agree that it was a pretty pathetic sight.
She refused to get up and walk so what could I do? I picked her up and carried her all the way back to the car! She’s only 20 pounds or so but that still gets kind of heavy after a while. These damn cocker spaniels need some convenient handles to grab on to!
We got her back home and did a quick search on the internet to figure out what to do. Basically, when a dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, you should cool them down as soon as possible. So that’s what we did. I hosed her down and then tossed her in a cooler with cold water and ice. Here’s a couple of pictures of the pitiful dog. It took her about 3 days to return to her former self. During that time she was slow and un-alert, moving around slowly like a decrepid old dog. The good thing is that she doesn’t appear to have suffered any brain damage. She’s pretty dumb so it’s kind of hard to tell though. I was hoping she wouldn’t be so much of a wuss dog anymore, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Oh well. I still think that she can run 5 miles, but we’ll wait until it’s cooler to let her try to redeem herself.
There’s only two pics, but they’re pretty good ones.