Eleven months later, I’m back with a final post in case anyone is still checking this, as I won’t be renewing my blog next year.
First, I’m sending a huge, heartfelt thanks to each of you who left a comment, emailed me, or just sent positive thoughts my way after I lost Django in January. In addition, my cat Orla, who has had feline leukemia since she was kitten, finally ran out of her nine lives and joined Django at the rainbow bridge in July. This all hit me so hard that it’s taken pretty much this whole year to get out of a very dark and sad place.
In many ways, I’m a completely different person now. The biggest way is that I’ve essentially stopped running. At first I couldn’t run because I couldn’t be alone with my sad thoughts, and my run would turn into a sob fest. When I could run without crying, it was too cold, then too rainy, then too hot, then too rainy, and now too cold. The old me who was out in all of that was nowhere to be found. I haven’t run more than five miles at a time and more than 10 miles a week this entire year. I haven’t run a race, consumed a gel, cared about splits, read running magazines, or considered myself a runner all year. It’s odd. I miss it. And yet, I realize that I’m just in a very different place. The part of me that misses it hopes that I’ll be able to get back to it some day.
Part of the reason that I stopped running, aside from all the weather excuses, is because of Otto. I certainly didn’t feel ready to adopt another greyhound in May, but when our adoption group introduced us to him, it was all over. He seemed like such a good dog that we couldn’t say no.
Only after we adopted him and brought him home did we see his racing name (SE’s Racin’ Rage) and realized he had the same father as Django. They’re half brothers! Dave feels like Django sent Otto to us since Otto broke his leg and retired from running right when Otto first got sick. It’s a nice thought.
I didn’t want a dog that was so similar to Django that I’d constantly be sad, and Otto couldn’t be more different. Where Django was fearful of everything at first and took months to get over those fears, Otto was like “OMG I love everything!” from day one. Where Django was polite with people but really only loved us, Otto absolutely loves people. Django’s idea of being affectionate was standing beside me so I’d pet him. Otto practically crawls on my lap every night on the couch to cuddle. But the most significant difference, and Otto’s really only issue, is that Django was very independent. Otto is very needy and has extreme separation anxiety. I’m sure it stems from people putting him in a cage and leaving him for three years while he was racing in Florida. He just wants to be around people constantly.
When we first got him, he would have a meltdown if put him in his crate or even went into another room where he couldn’t have access to us. He would cry, then bark, then howl. If we left him alone, he would chew things, howl, pant, and tremble. (I know this because we got a security camera to watch him). We didn’t want to return him, but we can’t be home all the time! This is why I couldn’t run–I had to spend all my time with him.
There’s actually a medication specifically for separation anxiety (Chlomicalm), so we tried that in hopes that we wouldn’t have to return him. He never seemed medicated on it, and was able to work up to spending the entire day by himself while we were at work, without being destructive or having a meltdown. It was a lifesaver! We also found a college student through Rover.com that would watch him in her apartment while we were at work a few days a week.
We’re still in transition. He can’t stay on the Chlomicalm forever, so we’ve been tapering him off. Unfortunately, the anxiety is back where he howls, pants, and trembles if we’re gone too long. And the college student had to unexpectedly move away. But the vet is trying a different medication for him, plus we give him CBD treats, which seems to help. And I’m trying to find another sitter, plus will be trying a dog walker. We’ll make it work.
This summer, I decided I’d take him running with me in the mornings as a way to tire him out. Unlike Django, he loves to run with me…but his idea of running is sprinting for 10 seconds, stopping to sniff and pee, and repeating that 100 times. But that’s what we do. We go “running” three or four days a week. I was starting to do one weekend run on my own since he sleeps in with Dave on weekends, but then it was too rainy, then it was too cold, yadda yadda yadda. I was hoping to work up to doing a winter race next year, but I just don’t know if I’ll be able to summon the motivation for winter running.
The other big way I’ve changed is that I’m starting a journey to minimalism. The running clothes, guys! This year I haven’t bought any running clothes because I haven’t been running. And it was only then that I realized how excessive my running wardrobe was. I’ve given a lot away to friends and thrift stores and still plan to give more away.
I’m doing a no-buy year for 2019, in which I won’t be buying clothes, housewares, makeup/skincare/haircare that’s not a replacement for something I’ve used up, books, or really anything tangible. My one exception is shoes, because if I do start running again, I will likely need new running shoes since mine are from last year. And I will likely need a new pair of summer shoes for work, but obviously don’t want to buy them now. Along with my no-buy, I’ll be getting rid of all the stuff (in the same categories as my no-buy) that I no longer use or enjoy. I’m tired of living with so much clutter! I’m super excited about all this!
That said, because I’m no longer running and no longer into running clothes, it’s the right time for this blog to come to an end. I’ve loved blogging for the community aspect and am grateful that I met so many people both online and in real life though blogging. Do you know that in all the years I had this blog, I never had a single mean comment? I always felt grateful that not only did so many people follow my story, but that so many nice people did. My little corner of the internet was a very positive place, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
I’m no longer on Instagram, because that was a place where Django played a big role, and I haven’t been able to bear being on it without him. I might change my mind, but for now I’m pretty much social media free (I’m not on Facebook and quit Twitter years ago). I do want to start visiting all the running blogs I used to follow again–both to connect again with people as well as to get some inspiration for running. If there’s anyone still there, I leave you with a big thank you for your support and friendship, and best wishes for wherever your running and life journeys take you. Feel free to keep in touch via email: jenniferkentpgh at gmail.