Mutts and Marshmallows: A January Adventure

The theme for January, for many peoples’ Januaries, is newness and beginnings.  A lot of people make resolutions for the fresh year—lose ten pounds, eat healthier, read more books, drink more water, get that promotion, finally take that trip—only to lose track within the first two weeks of the year.  We are eternally hopeful, but not all are eternally successful.

In the name of being hopeful, we elected to support our local SPCA by participating in a 5K.  I used to be a big-time runner.  I’ve done two half marathons and dozens of 5Ks.  I used to run six miles a day, six days a week, and loved every minute.  (I know, I plead insanity.)  Now, of course, I’ve been working 50-60 hours a week for close to four years, and I feel the weight creep.  I stopped running, because I was always working or commuting.  I made excuses.  I am now too fat, too unhealthy, too out of shape to run any kind of distance.  But I can walk.  And in the interests of being hopeful, we walked.

The SPCA “Mutts and Marshmallows” event has several different events running at the same time (pun intended).  They have two 5Ks, a one-mile “fun run,” and an 8k event—and leashed dogs are welcome for the “Doggie Dash” 5K.  This, of course, was great news for Luna, who is a master Doggie Dasher.  There have been several instances where I’ve walked up and down the street in front of our house, shaking a bag of dog treats and calling her name, because she slipped under the fence and went walkabout, dashing between neighbors’ houses and into the fields behind our neighborhood.  If Santa’s sleigh was pulled by Siberian huskies instead of reindeer, she’d have that whole “dash away, dash away, dash away all!” business down to a science.

It was chilly this morning.  I had layered up for the cold—two pairs of leggings, a long-sleeved tee, a short-sleeved tee, and a sweatshirt on top for warmth.  I had a warm scarf, a pair of mittens, and a toque embroidered with J.D.’s company stock ticker (CYBR).  While there was a race where dogs were allowed to participate, dogs were not allowed near the race number pick-up tents (sort that one out).  It worked out okay—there were two of us, so J.D. held Luna while I picked up my number, and then I returned the favor. 

He was nice about it, to be up early on a Saturday. Such a good sport.

The time came, and the puppy people started gathering near the starting line.  There were more than a few people who came out to support animal welfare this morning, and there were plenty of dogs out with their humans, ready to race.  Luna, being the playful sort, had trouble sitting still.  Everyone who passed by was a potential new friend, and how dare they walk past without saying hello?  I must sniff them—you there!  Present yourself for inspection!  (Oh, Luna…)

She would sit for a photo, and then immediately get up to investigate a new friend.

After a few instructions (stay on the path, keep on the leash, walkers make way for runners to pass), we were off.  As I said before, I’m in no shape to run.  But I made a good faith effort to walk the whole course.  Luna, of course, made a good faith effort to drag her humans down the course.  The herd of other pups quickly surpassed us, and she wanted to get back to the middle of the pack so that she could jump and play.  (There were a few stragglers right at the start.  Once they gave the signal to “GO,” some of the canines took it literally.  We had a whole set that decided to stop to poo within 20 feet of the start line.)

Dogs and their humans milling about, waiting to start.

At the end of the course, they had tents set up with baggies of treats for the puppy overlords and snacks and hot chocolate for all human companions.  They had peppermint, they had marshmallows, and you could even keep the mug.  Like with the race number pick-up, dogs had to stay outside a particular radius of the food tent.  So once again, we traded off waiting.  I held Luna and sipped my hot chocolate while J.D. made his way to get his own mug.  And all of a sudden, it happened.  I didn’t see it, but I sure felt it.  Luna jumped to greet another dog, some kind of terrier mix.  You!  Come play with me!  If I make noise, you will pay attention!

The leash pulled tight, my arm jerked forward, and the hot chocolate sloshed in a big wave (that part I did see) over the lip of the mug, swirling in the air like so much liquid fog before cascading all over my sweatshirt, my pants, and my shoes.  Marshmallows everywhere.  Luna play-growling and shaking her back paw to get rid of a marshmallow that had managed to stick to her fur.  Somehow, she managed to escape the chocolate tsunami relatively unscathed, but I was covered in a sticky brown liquid from head to toe.  Welp, time to go home.

It was a long walk, along a cross-country course through the woods.  We basically had a lovely walk in the park, mostly by ourselves.  We may not have set any records, but the whole family got out and had some exercise on a Saturday morning, and we supported a good cause in the process.  And when we got home, it was time for laundry.

I don’t like my face here, but Luna’s face is perfect.

Did you know that the ASPCA is not necessarily the same thing as your local SPCA?  While the ASPCA does great work, our local SPCA in Wake County is not affiliated with, and does not receive any funding, from the ASPCA.  Chances are it’s a similar situation where you live.  Check it out—chances are, your local organization could use some help.

Carolina Wordsmith has not received any compensation for any shout-outs in this post.  If you like what you’re reading, please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and/or subscribe to our e-mail list.