Back in February, 2018, our dog Winston joined the family as the newest addition, officially taking his place as the “little brother” of our older dog, Quincy. Quincy, a 9-year-old Bichon, is more like a cat than anything. He wakes up, eats, goes outside, comes back in, and sleeps again. On occasion, he’ll roll over, grunt, scratch, or move from one sunny spot to another. But that’s about the extent of his bag of tricks. T H E T R O U B L E S A N D T R I UM P H S O F R U NN I N G W I T H D O G S HOW T O KEEP Y OUR BE S T BUDD Y SA F E
It’s no secret that superhero movies are dominating the box office. The highest-grossing movies of 2018 (and the third and fourth highest- grossing of all time) were “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” There’s never been a better time to be a fan of superheroes or to become a fan of superhero comics. If your kids are interested in reading more about IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE! IT’S … 3 GREAT FAMI LY - FR I ENDLY SUPERHERO COMI CS superheroes, here are a few great titles your whole family can enjoy together. ‘MS. MARVEL’ Since her debut in 2013, Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, has been a wildly popular character, and her comic has gained critical acclaim. A 2015 Hugo Award winner, “Ms. Marvel” explores what it means to be a teenager, a first-generation American, a friend, and a superhero. The storylines promote an important message: “Good is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you do.” In just a few years, Ms. Marvel has become an established superhero in comics, and it won’t be long before she steps onto the big screen with a live-action movie. ‘SUPER SONS: THE POLARSHIELD PROJECT’ Jon Kent, son of Superman, and Damian Wayne, son of Batman, couldn’t be more different. But when a mysterious force threatens the world, these super sons must learn to trust each other — and themselves — to save the day. Based on the hit “Super Sons” comic book series, “Super Sons: The Polarshield Project” doesn’t hit shelves until April 2, 2019, which means you and your kids have plenty of time to reserve a copy of this graphic novel at your local comic book shop! ‘CHAMPIONS‘ “Champions” is a story about teenage superheroes, but don’t expect pizza or relationship drama in these panels. These comics tackle how young people today approach problems, with a readiness to rally together and take matters into their own hands. “Champions” doesn’t shy away from hard topics, making it more appropriate for older kids and teens. But that doesn’t mean this story lacks heart or humor. Featuring comic favorites like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man as well as popular newcomers, “Champions” is about identity, purpose, and what it really means to save the world. Find these titles and other incredible stories at your local comic book shop.
Winston is a totally different story. He’s a Samoyed, which is a breed straight out of
Siberia bred to herd reindeer and pull people around on dog sleds. Samoyeds are strong, energetic dogs who can pull a person with ease. Pretty soon, it became very apparent that Winston was going to need a lot more exercise than Quincy. A dog from Siberia is not very comfortable in the notorious Richmond summer heat, so when the days started
getting colder, I began taking Winston running with me to burn off some of his
endless energy. Now he’s fully taken to it and is my favorite weekend running partner. The payoff is that he’s a lot more mellow on Saturday afternoon after he’s
gotten in a good run. Running with dogs is not for everybody — or every dog for that matter. But if you feel inclined to try it with your dog, here are some quick tips. • Running with a dog can be dangerous. Don’t try it until your dog is leash trained and knows where they should be: to the left of you and within easy reach of your left hand. If your dog is constantly trying to pull you or cut behind or in front of you, you’re going to end up falling flat on your face and getting seriously hurt. • I use a 4-foot leash that I wrap around my left wrist together with a gentle leader around Winston’s nose. This allows me to guide him with slight tugs or pulls on the leader to keep him in line. While teaching the dog to run with you, keep the leash short so you have better control. • Chalk up the first quarter-mile of a dog run as a start-stop, walk-run type of warm up. In addition to getting warm, your dog will need to scratch, sniff, and do what dogs do before they run. They can’t just “take off” on a run. Once they get it out of their system, let them know it is time to run and start. • Dogs can get injured too. If your dog is an adolescent, remember that the musculoskeletal system is still growing and maturing. A lot of larger dogs are prone to hip problems, and not every dog is built to run. See the discussion of Quincy above. Just use common sense here. • Personally, I’d avoid running with your dog when it’s hot. With that in mind, if you sense they need a break, then definitely take a break. For Winston, the cold winter air gives him a ton of energy, but even when it’s cold, he reaches a point where he’s done. Then we’ll just slowly walk to cool down. • Finally, trail running with your pooch is a lot more enjoyable for them than street running, and it’s safer for their joints, too, so hit the trails. If you take a moment to heed my advice, you’re bound to have a happy run with your pooch. Now get out there and let them live a little.
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