I can’t get enough of dog videos and I’m sure I’m not alone. Nothing reduces me to a goofy grin quite like seeing a pup having the time of its life. I especially love the ones that show dogs commandeering human toys. Skateboards, surfboards, trampolines—none are off limits.
Recently, I saw a video of a mixed breed dog with a skateboard. You could tell there was a human skateboarding next to him from the camera angles and shadows. This dog would stand close to one side and drop its legs to the sidewalk to move the board along and then balance on it, leaning this way and that to navigate the curvy trail. The best part, though, was the expression on the dog’s face. He was smiling ear-to-ear. His tail was employed in assisting his balance or I’d imagine it would be flagging high. There’s another video out there I’ve seen of an English Bulldog mastering a skateboard in a skate park. Same antics with the pedaling along with its front paws and then swaying its weight to move the board. The English Bulldog is a stocky beast, so watching it be so graceful with its fleshy body, sagging happy face and lolling tongue is immensely entertaining. These are my laugh out loud moments.
Another go, dog, go activity that is worth the watch is running agility courses. Here a clever dog will navigate an obstacle course as fast as it can. There will be side-stepping and weaving through poles or bollards; there will be ramps and jumps, tunnels and sometimes a water challenge. It’s an amazing thing to watch. All breeds are welcome, as we saw recently at our local county fair. Competitors included a Chihuahua outfitted in a tutu, a Blue Heeler, a German Shepherd, and (no surprise) a Border Collie. The Border Collie got a ribbon, but this was an all-for-fun competition, so every competitor received robust applause, and a good time was had by both competitors and spectators.
Water dogs (Retrievers and Spaniels and the like) have their own competition involving leaping great lengths off a 40-foot dock. The length and/or height of the jump is measured, and the numbers are truly impressive. Colorado has Rocky Mountain Dock Dogs and the club’s competition is broken down into several categories: Big Air Dogs (dogs that jump great heights), Extreme Vertical (the highest jump takes the prize), and Speed Retrieve (winning is based on speed laps in the pool). These dogs are working dogs, competitors of the highest rank. You can see it in their bodies as they strain to start the race. They live for this, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
As a teenager, my husband used to hold his pup Jasper’s leash, step on his skateboard and say, “Go on, Jasper. Go to the beach,” and off they’d go like a rocket. He loved running as fast as he could the 2-ish miles along the bike path toward the beach. Jasper had boundless energy and my husband only had to keep his balance on the fast-flying board. Jasper was happiest when he got to go fast, and a day at the beach was always a treat. After several rounds of playing fetch the flip-flop in the surf and chasing seagulls, they’d take the same path home again, Jasper straining ahead, albeit a little slower after hours of sun and sand. The day would end with a quick hosing off in the yard to cool down and rinse the sand from his fur. Not a bad day for a dog.
In the neighborhood route in or out, we happen to pass a property that has four dogs of varying breeds and sizes. You can see them waiting at the corner of the fence, their curious faces turned toward the road. They’re waiting for cars, and especially for cars with dogs aboard. Daisy, a frequent car ride dog, is prancing and whining at the window the minute she sees the pack. As we pass, the race is on. Daisy does her part by barking and the dogs are off, racing the car the full length of their enclosure, which is about 50 yards. The racing pack barks too and when they reach the end of the line, there is much tail wagging and paws up on the fence before returning to the starting spot. They don’t want to miss out on the next race. Even left to their own devices, this pack can’t resist the go, dog, go games.
My workday begins at 7:30 am, which puts me on the road at 10 after. Every morning, from spring to fall, I see a young man jogging up the steep hill with his dog in tow. They’re both panting. I give them a deliberate wide berth and raise my hand in greeting. Tired as he is, he always waves back. I can guess at the fitness reasons for the man to put himself through this daily torture (it’s a very steep hill), but I often wonder about the dog. It’s clearly not its first time being its human’s jogging companion. I imagine the scene: The man goes about getting ready to leave the house. He’s wearing his workout clothes, and lacing his running shoes. Perhaps he’s even stretching. None of these signs are lost on the dog. There will be a run and he will not be left behind. He starts nosing in on whatever the man is doing and he’s staying close to make his intention known. The man grabs the leash and heads for the door and the dog is grateful to be invited. I never imagine the man having to coax the dog. In fact, I imagine the dog waiting at the door on days the man has decided to skip the morning run. It hasn’t happened yet, but I think the dog will not be happy if it ever comes to pass.
Whether it’s an English Bulldog showing off its moves on a skateboard, a Chihuahua in a tutu doing its best on an obstacle course, a loyal companion jogging alongside its fitness-motivated human, or a pound puppy pulling its human the entire route to the beach, these dogs are happiest when they’re on the move. At least that’s been my observation. For my part, I only want to offer encouragement. “Go, dog, go!”