Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pet Sadness and Fast Miles

We all love animals, right?  I bet 98% of people, if not more, have loved a pet in their lives.  And the hardest, hardest, hardest part about the pets we fall in love with is when we have to live through a pet getting hurt or suffering.  And then they go die. 

I dream of the day I own my first dog with the Gentleman, and then the day when we get our second and maybe third dog, because I want a big, medium, and small.  And they will be best friends, and then the dogs will eventually end up looking like us.

Apparently this picture is hosted by

This has been on my mind because I woke up to the most horrifying news about my older sister's greyhound, Deja (pronounced like "Deja vu").  She and her husband already lost a greyhound to a slow and expensive cancer death a couple years ago.  Deja has been in their lives for at least 5 years. 

Deja and sister

She is alive and on track to be ok, but what happened is pretty disturbing.  So please fair warning, do not highlight the text below unless you want an image in your mind that is hard to erase.

Deja was playing with my sister's other dog, and somehow her skin got caught on some sort of water-sprinkler type apparatus.  As she pulled away, her skin went with it.  She skinned off a very large portion of herself, exposing muscle all the way through.  Her skin was flapping off like a cape.   She underwent a 3-hour surgery to stitch the skin back on, and things look ok.  Have you ever heard of such a freak accident?  I wonder if greyhounds have unusual skin.

I really don't even know why I'm sharing this.  But it has been on my mind all day, and I have literally been cringing and grimacing all day.  I cannot handle thinking about this dog in so much pain.  Which reminds me why I went vegetarian for a long period of time a while back...I'm a big old baby about this stuff.  I can only eat meat when I really detach myself from the actual source of the product, which is pretty easy sometimes when it tastes so familiar.  I've been eating it for 28-minus-2 years!

This reminded me of the last time that a pet sadness knocked me off my feet for a while.  My family lost our chihuahua, Cha-Chi, who we had since I was 12 until 25, in a terrible way.  A neighbor's big jerk dog (a mastiff I think) came over to our property, jumped over the short fence (which was all that was needed for a chihuahua), and killed her.  Just shook her and broke her neck.  That dog needs some serious anger management if this was all over Cha-Chi's annoying yips.  Our other chihuahua, Paco, survived a deer attack shortly after.  Nature is mean to chihuahuas!

Cha-Chi, below, in a cute lil cast.  She had a heart-shaped spot!

Anyway.  Thanks for letting me get that out.  I spend a lot of time daydreaming about what kind of dog I will get one day, and this stuff makes me wonder if I am brave enough to handle the hard parts.

Hot dang.  Track workouts get better and better!

I can feel my legs getting happier with the speed each time I show up at the track.

This morning, the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders had a "tempo" pace workout scheduled: 3 one-miles at tempo pace, with a one lap recovery.  I was told tempo pace should be somewhere around 15 seconds faster than half-marathon pace.   My last half-marathon was a 6:32 pace, so I figured I would aim for 6:15-6:20 pace.

I think the workout is meant to help you work on your tempo pace, and not be a wild maniac who just sprints from the gates.  But I'm new to this track stuff, and I seem to only have "one speed" at the moment, so I ran as my legs told me to and they were totally not into a 6:15-6:20 pace.

Mile 1:  6:03
Mile 2:  5:58
Mile 3:  5:59
Mile 4:  5:57
Mile 5:  6:06
400m:   82 seconds

I don't think I've ever seen a sub-6:00 mile before on my Garmin? I did 5 repeats instead instead of 3, because I didn't feel done after number 3.  I was having a great time, and was feeling good, and it was a really beautiful morning. 

After the 4th mile, I recovered for somewhere between 2-and-3 laps (I was fiddling with my Garmin) which kind of screwed me over for the 5th mile.  I felt "cooled down" at that point, and it was hard to rev back up.  I don't like ending on the slowest note.

So, mad about that, I did one last 400m run to burn out my energy.  Then I was toast, and I jogged home.

No hip/buttcrease pain during the track workout (I'm beginning to think running fast actually feels better on it than slow) but when I got home tonight, the Gentleman wanted to run one lap around the lake (it was SO NICE OUT) and then it was really not feeling good.  Very temperamental.  The standing all day thing seems to be helping keep my hamstring/buttcrease loose, whereas it usually feels stiff on days I run and then sit.

My current situation.  A few adaptations from the last picture. And I wear flats to work, not heels! Only heels on special occasions, like a court appearance.

I also tried to photograph my purty headband at work

Are you sick and tired of reading about my track workouts? Because I don't think this is the last of it.

Have you lost a pet you loved? Any freak accidents? How do you handle the saaaaadddd?


  1. My cat Minnie was 13 when she was spooked by a dog halfway across an isolated road outside our house. It isn't busy, and it's fairly rural, so cars tend to exceed the speed limit somewhat. She'd crossed that road thousands of times before, but the dog completely threw her and she panicked, running right into the path of an oncoming car. This happened a year ago and I still miss her - I don't think I'll be able to ever own another cat. I am comforted by her death being instant, and therefore painless, and the fact that she was an acitve/outdoor cat with joint problems that were getting worse with old age, so it wouldn't have been long before her quality of life would have been compromised. But still...I resent the owner of that dog, and I resent the driver even more not because they hit her, but because they didn't even stop to see how she was: they just drove off.

    Greyhounds do indeed have very thin and fragile skin - it tears far more easily than other breeds and it's also more tightly stretched over their frames. I've known of Greyhounds getting snagged on barbed wire before and ripping off large pieces of skin. Poor Deja: I am so happy that she's going to be okay.

    I generally find reading about track workouts quite dull, simply because my brain only works in miles and not 400s/800s/yassos etc. I was not an athlete in school by any means, unless you count the 4xcake-eating sprint. But luckily this workout of yours was in miles! And what speedy miles...I was chuffed recently just to see 6s on my Garmin (although on road, not track). 5s...well, I think they're just a distant dream.


  2. I love hearing about your track workouts, so keep posting them. It continues to convince me I need to get my Butt to the track!!

  3. The cat love of my life, Kismet, was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in January 2010. That's basically just a fancy way of saying that his heart valves leaked, pumping blood ineffectively to the rest of his body and making it, over time, more difficult for him to breathe. Before his diagnosis, which was lengthy, expensive and traumatic, Kismet was a normal healthy cat. After, he took medication daily and, toward the end, made several overnight trips to the emergency vet when fluid backed up into his lungs and he couldn't breathe. He died last August somewhat unexpectedly - I just woke up to find him next to me, but gone. Kismet's condition was chronic and so I knew that he would die young (the prognosis given to me post-diagnosis was 6 months - four years; he made it for about 1.5), and so in that way I had time to "prepare" myself but what I realized after is that no matter how much advance notice you have, you can't prepare yourself. I was sad, but I was also happy in a way that he died at home (Kismet really HATED the vet) and that he died with me and that he wasn't in pain. And despite everything - the thousands of dollars I couldn't afford to spend on his care but did anyway, the fear, the almost constant worry - I'd do it again. Having him in my life was so much better than not having him. I currently have three pets (two cats and a rabbit) and that experience did change me; I look at them all sometimes knowing we will get to that day, but it's just so worth it. <3

    For the purposes of this blog I will also tell you that I ran a half marathon the day Kismet died. I PR'd by 20 minutes and then started crying about three minutes after I crossed the finish line. Weird day, for sure.

  4. I love the track workouts! Keep 'em coming!
    I just bought a new chair for work because I'm pretty sure that is what has been hurting my hips. Standing is my next alternative. worth it!

  5. I should have not highlighted that story. I have Italian Greyhounds and can't stop picturing them running around with no skin. Now I am scarred.

    I love to hate the track. Last night I went and only did three 800s then my stomach erupted and I called it a night. Plus my husband didn't feel like running so he was stayed in a car like a pouty child which was extreme unmotivation for me to continue. I need to find a track club to push me.

  6. Dang girl you are killing it at the track! Please come to Chicago and pace me.

    We've lost quite a few pets in my family to some very very tragic events, some of which I can't even speak of because it makes me feel ill and extremely sad. My sister did have a guinea pig when she was little though that had an anxiety attack once in his cage and ran into the medal frame of his feeder which ripped his eyeball out. The poor thing died because the eye socket never healed and every time he would eat the food would seep out of his eye, so basically he starved to death. The vet wouldn't even treat him because apparently guinea pigs aren't really worth the money to save. It was really sad and to this day I can't look at a guinea pig.

  7. Poor baby! That makes me so sad, but thank goodness she is healing. I love my two puppies so much, probably a little too much. To the point where I hate if I ever have to work late because I feel bad leaving them so long. They are so worth it, though!

  8. I love hearing about your track workouts!

    We, too, had an drawn-out cancer death with our first Boxer. Absolutely heartbreaking. She battled lymphoma for 5 months and when the chemo finally quit working, we had to put her down. The really sad part was that I was in the Navy at the time and got called Jan. 1st and was told to pack my bags for a deployment (in response to the 2005 Indonesian tsunami). It's like my poor Abby knew. Not kidding, within 24 hours of getting that phone call she went downhill. Stopped eating, labored breathing, wouldn't come inside the house but laid in her dog house outside (waiting to die). We put her down January 3rd, and I left on deployment January 5th. It was so hard to hold her during the euthanasia and actually see/feel her stop breathing, but I didn't want her to be scared. Yes, indeed, that is truly the shittiest part of pet ownership. No doubt.

    I am so sorry to hear about your sister's dog and hope she's doing ok.

  9. Oh pet sadness. I have an Italian greyhound (mini greyhound) she was my first baby. I've had her for over 10 years her skin is very thin. She had a seizure a few years ago and it was so scary to see. I also have a Shih Tzu that I found as a stray a couple of years ago. I’m actually taking her to the vet today for a follow up appointment. We discovered she has ulcers in both eyes from exposure. Too much sunlight in the desert. Both dogs are fond of sun bathing during the day. We were worried about the Shih Tzu because she fell in the pool twice. We were lucky she was able to swim to the shallow end to the stairs and climb out. That’s when we figured something was wrong with her vision. I couldn’t imagine what your poor sister is going through or Deja. I would be beside myself…. I hope she recovers quickly and that they give her some Puppy Vicodin.

    Wow your track workouts are fantastic! Keep up the good work. I’m a running nerd, I love hearing about track workouts and race reports. It is really neat to read about how much faster you are running. Yes faster might be better for that hip thingy. Maybe you should treat yourself to a sports massage, also maybe ice your butt crease at night when you are relaxing…

  10. Oh no I hope Deja heals up soon. Just breaks my heart to think about doggies getting hurt.

    I have 3 dogs and if anything ever happened to them, well I just don't even want to think about it. One of my dogs is a chihuahua, his name is Dash and he was rescued from a pupply mill type place. He turned out to be the sweetest dog ever, he is seriously spoiled haha.

    My previous boss had her own business where she trained golden retrievers to be therapy dogs for people with MS. It was so rewarded watching these dogs get trained, graduate and go on to their respective owners.
    She actually had 3 of her own dogs too and one died from cancer, it was really heart breaking.

    Great job on the track workout!!

  11. Doggie incidences are so hard. I think because we cannot fully comprehend their pain, nor really take it away. I lost my lovely Lola to bone cancer less than 2 years ago. She didn't even live to see her 2nd birthday. I write this as Leonard is curled up on my lap sleeping. Lola's departure allowed Leonards entrance. It is a never end circle of life I suppose. Sending good thoughts to Deja!

  12. Oh my god, I cannot imagine the horror of Deja's accident. Holy shit. Perhaps it's because greyhounds have thinner skin and very little body fat? Omg, I am just glad she's going to be okay. A friend in college adopted a retired track Greyhound - his name was Actual (track name, and too old to change, but I thought it was awesome!). Greyhounds are so cool.

    Unfortunately I have quite a few sad pet stories. My mother got a toy poodle when I went away to college and was attached at the hip to little Rosie. When Rosie was about 1.5 yrs old, my mom came home from work one day and Rosie did her typical "I'm so excited to see you" jumping up and down, and my mom picked her up - and she was still squirming around, fell out of her hands, and broke her neck. It was horrific. My dad had a daschund that was attacked and killed by a hawk right in their front yard.

    My husband and I are HUGE dog people and got a puppy right after we got married. She was the only survivor of her litter (mom was very sick and couldn't nurse them). She was about 6 months old when she went into sudden kidney failure and we had to put her down. It's the only time I've seen my husband cry! It was awful. When I see dogs that look like her I have turn the other way (and this was almost 7 years ago). But we eventually adopted out little beast, Darla and she is awesome. I can't imagine life without her, and I won't even allow myself to think about it (she's 6).

    I seriously am in awe that you can run a sub 6-min mile. I think my fastest 400m on the track was at a 6:30 pace. But seeing results from track work is exciting because it happens so fast! I am going to keep doing a track workout every week through the summer and hopfully BQ in the fall.

  13. Oh god I feel so so upset about Deja... I know she is such a sweet dog and this has got to be so hard for them... I have never heard of anything like that happening! Sounds like such a freak accident. Please let them know I am thinking about them and hoping she gets better.

    Pets are the worst, because you love them so much, and then stuff like this happens and it breaks your heart. I worry about my cat all the time over stupid little stuff, and she's just a cat! Haha. But seriously, judging on how much of a basket case I am about her, I'm not sure I can handle any other animals.

  14. Oh you are so genius, I really like how you hid the details of the Deja accident in the black highlighted area. I am so bummed to hear about her, I hope she heals up fast!

    Pets are totally worth it to me, although I can't imagine anything ever happening to my little peep (my obese cat.) She got sick vomiting the other night and I thoughts raced through my head about her not getting better and it gave me some anxiety. Eventually, I'd like to get a dog or two, but I first need a big backyard to stash them in!

    Nice speedy track miles!

  15. I LOVE reading about your track workouts.


  16. Chills over the poor dog's accident!

    You are crazy fast, woman. And, love the headband!

  17. These track workouts are awesome! Please keep them coming. Now If only I can find a good one around here to do some 400 repeats (the one down the road is a cinder track, ugh!!, no thank you).

  18. 21 years ago our family headed out to Dillon Beach for a crab feast. Some friends were crabbing there and we were new to California and they invited us to join them. We drove there in our old Toyota van with our 5 yr old golden retriever Rosie. When we arrived we all excitedly hopped out of the van including Rosie. One of the other families on scene had an aggressive dog chained up there and he lunged and broke his chain and jumped Rosie who ran away and hid. When we got her back we discovered to our horror that she had a 10 inch laceration on her leg. The skin was totally ripped away from the muscle. The hardest part was finding a vet on a Sunday not to mention missing out on the crab. It took 60+ stitches to repair but Rosie barely missed a beat. She was happy and running around in no time.

  19. Oh man. So much to say and think about and comment on. For now I'll just leave you with the reminder that my cat's name is Chachi... and that's pretty friggin rad. :)

  20. Oh man....I'm so sorry to hear that, the poor pup!!!!! I don't have any freak accident stories but reading this made me want to go hug my own dogs I hope she heals quickly!


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