Time improved last night and I felt like I really put a lot into the run. Erick got home late, so I was running home in the dark. It was peaceful. And sometimes not being able to see the distance ahead of you can be to your advantage; keeping you focused and in the moment.

My oldest expressed an interest in running with me last night, so I promised we would run together today. She’s “in training” and excited to run the full distance, though I’ve tried to convince her we should start with half a mile.

Last Friday when I took Lady with me on a run, she became very apprehensive after the first mile. She stuck both front legs out at one point and stopped in her tracks, leaving me holding a leash and collar a few strides ahead of her. I drove her home – meaning I pushed and pushed to keep my time reasonable, but also, I think, because I saw in her a part of me who used to give up.

When we arrived home, Lady looked defeated and sad. I hadn’t physically caused her any harm, but I had certainly called her name and pulled on the lead and worse, ignored her need to slow down. At the front door, she would not come into the house, but stood looking forlorn on the front step. I had to coax her into the house, which is very unusual.

My other reason for rushing home was a meeting I had promptly at 5:45, which meant I needed to be home and showered with time to spare. Once Lady was in the house, I gave her a rub and told her I was sorry and that I thought she did a great job and then leapt up the stairs on my own schedule.

When Christy and I arrived home later that evening, both Lady and Celli were acting very strange. Christy sat down on the couch and Celli jumped up beside her and puffed out her chest in a proud manner. As Lady approached the couch, Celli very purposefully lifted her left paw and set it down atop Lady’s head.

At first I suspected this was a dominance thing, though it didn’t feel like dominance. It felt like a healing touch being applied to a wounded friend. When Christy began taking notice of Lady’s bad eye, she buried her head in the couch cushion and I saw then she’d had enough. We both apologized to Lady for causing her so much grief and she seemed to relax into our voices.

This experience helped me see the fragile line between respectful encouragement and downright pushiness. On my off-nights, I will walk Lady and Celli and a child or two at their pace, in their time. And we’ll all heal and get stronger no matter the distance.