I am not a dog personMay 26, 2006
But Liz is, and a couple months ago we adopted Lucy, a 4-year-old Australian shepherd / border collie mix, from the pound.
Liz is Lucy’s primary caregiver but is out of town for four days this week, so I’ve had to revise my attitude toward Lucy from “indifference” to “polite acknowledgment.” She’s become another distant colleague whose work I don’t fully understand.
Canines can have a maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) of well over 200 milliliters per kilogram of body mass per minute; I suspect that Lucy’s is quite a bit lower than that. Like a novice cross-country runner, she goes out fast, slows way down after the first couple miles, and occasionally veers off course. She seems to be developing some racing tactics, though; yesterday I could swear that she was boxing me in as we ran beside a long fence, presumably to slow me down to her preferred pace. I wasn’t sure whether to be proud of her cleverness or annoyed that she was trying to set up a kicker’s race.
Ultimately I responded with a hard one-minute surge to put her into oxygen debt. I may not be a brilliant strategist, but I know how to get the best of an out-of-shape dog.