This morning Taylor and I ran "wLYd" at Shawnee Mission Park, in a benefit for Kaw Valley Young Life (hence the "LY" in the name). We did the 5k, since this would be my first race since my ankle surgery, and we just started running together again last week. It turned out to be a challenging day: the weather was cool (60) but very humid, and the course was paved, but very hilly. Tay & I were up for it, though, and we squeaked in just under the thirty minute mark. Meanwhile, Aki hung out in the car & enjoyed the open windows & the sun roof. We collected her after our run so she could join us and meet the crowd and have a treat. As usual, the dogs drew a lot of attention and they LOVED meeting all the kids! Several kids were enthralled with them, but approached them quietly & respectfully, so the adoration was mutual.
Before the race, the program directors spoke over a loud speaker, and the crowd drew around them. Tay must have been able to feel the excitement in the air, and started howling... LOUDLY. Everyone turned and laughed. We lined up at the start line and waited for the call to start the race, and again Tay fed off the crowd, producing a crescendo of yips. When the crowd surged forward, he got even louder and pulled intensely on the harness. This continued for the first quarter-mile or so, despite my attempts to calm him down so he wouldn't wear out immediately. It was really funny!
I love these photos of Tay—I never realize how small the Shibas are until I see them next to me in photos! He did so well and looks like he is having so much fun... I was very proud.
In reading a bit about Young Life on their website, I found that I love their mission statement: "Young Life doesn't start with a program. It starts with adults who are concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, building bridges of authentic friendship. These relationships don't happen overnight — they take time, patience, trust and consistency." It's an important mission that I believe in and am glad to support, and personally, I'd compare it to building a relationship with an animal—the same tenets hold true.
UPDATE: We won first place in our age group!!! (I know, I totally don't believe it either!) Sherrie, the race director, emailed me to ask where she should mail the medal. If I had an suspicion that we had placed, I would have stayed for the awards ceremony. Guess Mr. Taylor has earned himself a new collar ornament. It was HIS race to win, after all... he pulled me the whole way.
You can see Taylor ramping up to run on the left side of these shots: