Black Girls RUN! Local Group Run Agreement - Please Sign


Apr 24, 2024

Runner’s Best Friend

Getting a dog is guaranteed to get you moving. You’ll get exercise and fresh air on your daily walks and spend quality time with your furry friends.

Now, let’s take that to the next level – try taking your dog running!

Meet Dee, an ambassador for Black Girls RUN! Cincinnati and a longtime dog mom. Not only does she get regular exercise running with her dogs, but she also enters them in races as well!

Dee and her dogs Bryleigh Meadow, a Labrador/Beagle mix, and Benzei Orejas, a Pomchi Terrier, are all well known in the local running scene. They show up at 5Ks, 10Ks, and group runs, and never miss a beat. One of their favorite races is the Flying Fur, a pet-friendly 1-mile race that takes place during Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon weekend in May.

Not only does Dee blaze the course at almost every distance, but her dogs do too. That’s not surprising, considering how they regularly go out for 3-5 mile runs for exercise.

“I always run and love having my dogs with me,” Dee said. “They love it too – even when it’s snowing outside! They were born to run.”

Dee got started running with her first dog, a Dalmatian named Bleu. She got Bleu as a high school graduation gift, and Bleu would live for 16 ½ years, accompanying Dee through many life milestones, including becoming part of Black Girls RUN!.

“My dogs are really connected to me,” she said.

If you’re looking at running with your dogs, Dee offers this advice.

Wait until they turn 2: Dee checked with her veterinarian, who said that puppies’ bones need to develop before they’re able to handle regular running. After 2, they’ll be ready to go.

Start walking with groups: While you’ll be doing this anyway, Dee says it’s good to take your dogs on walks to places where other walkers and runners will be, so they’ll get used to crowds. You’ll know then when (or if) they’re ready to run races with others.

Check-in with your running groups: When Dee joined Black Girls RUN! seven years ago, she asked members if it was ok to bring her dogs on group runs. “I made sure it’s ok to run because everyone isn’t comfortable with dogs,” she said. They welcomed the dogs, and now they’re among the most consistent BGR! runners! Dee believes it’s just a courtesy good dog owners should demonstrate before just showing up.

Make sure your dog is ok with crowds: As much as you might want to run with your dogs in a race, they should feel comfortable being in large groups. If racing isn’t their thing, you can always do neighborhood runs with them “It’s not just about me, it’s about them too,” Dee said.

Check race regulations: Before Dee brings her dogs to a race, she’ll check the race guidelines to make sure dogs are allowed. Many races won’t specifically prohibit dogs, and Dee finds they’re more than welcome at those races. If the guidelines specifically say, “no animals,” then leave them at home. Your best bet might be to find a race for your local humane society or other animal charity – you’ll be among like-minded runners on two and four legs!

“I get so excited when I see other people running with their dogs,” Dee said. “I just love it.”

By Shannon Shelton Miller /Twitter: ShannonSMWrites, Instagram: shannon.shelton1

Shannon Shelton Miller is a longtime writer and journalist who enjoys writing about sports, fitness, health, beauty, and parenting. She has been running for 27 years, starting from joining her high school cross-country team. She has run a marathon, two half marathons, and countless 5K and 10K races.