It’s that time of year again…everything seems new and different. Trees are green, growing and full of nesting baby birds. Flowers are popping up around every corner saying, “Hello, what have you been doing all winter”? I even saw a gigantic toad on the sidewalk while running in Milwaukie the other day. (Or maybe it was a frog, but it was REALLY big!)
As I have the pleasure of experiencing spring exploding in Portland I can’t help but be smacked in the face by parallels in other areas as well – changes are taking place everywhere. One of my favorite runners and one of my favorite clients (along with his human) are all leaving Portland at the same time.
Helen is moving to Aspen and Maxwell is moving to sunny California with his human, Clay. I am elated for all of them and for the last few days I have been grinning and wallowing around in this happy little aura of special-ness. I am lucky to have such people (and dogs) here in my life. I am lucky to have the pleasure of building these relationships that seem so easy, so effortless…and so much f u n.
I am lucky to be seeing these special friends off to new beginnings and exciting futures.
Somehow though, today is different. Even with all of the new and positive things that are going on in my life and with Portland Dog Runner, today still feels the like reality of this move has finally set in. Nature’s challenging side of change…I have to face it sometime…but…the new runners I hired are all doing great and new clients are signing up! (It may be years before Helen and I chat over Salty Dogs -in my opinion, the perfect runner’s drink- again.) Very soon I’ll be stepping back from running to take on a more managerial role, a big step in the growth of a business! (But, Helen and Maxwell are moving in two days and Clay is packing up to sell his house.) I will make new friends in the runners and clients I have yet to meet! (I’ll probably never get to take Maxwell to Chimney Park or 1,000 Acres again.) It’s spring and I’m excited to do some marketing, to grow more business! (Oh geez, this is going to be a lot harder than I thought…)
Helen has been with Portland Dog Runner almost from the very beginning. We met at a candle party and when she heard what I was doing, she expressed her interest in running dogs with me. This was in 2009 -back when Portland Dog Runner consisted of Polly, three clients and me I ran twice a week. Soon that became five clients, then six and I couldn’t run them all on my own anymore. I didn’t know much about Helen except that she ran with her Dad and his dog, Bessie, (RIP) in Corvallis all the time. But when I called, there she was as promised, ready to run!
To my delight Helen hasn’t changed a bit since our very first run together. Cheery, loyal and always up for an adventure, Helen was my personal savior right when I needed her most. She is my friend and my mentor. I feel so lucky to have met this wonderful, perfect person at just the perfect time.
Over the last three years and more, Helen and I shared dog stories, dating stories, dead car batteries on a frosty February morning, stolen wallets, lost keys, broken leashes, shoulder injuries, birthday drinks, lazy dogs, rain, mud, laundry challenges, working late and running early, rain, mud and more and more mud. Through all of this, Helen is there, running – cheery as ever and always willing to do a little extra, or whatever it takes to help out. Wow, I’m going to miss her! Have FUN Helen! You have a wonderful life ahead of you.
Then there’s Maxwell, the white ghost. He’s the handsome charmer that you can’t resist, the reminder that everything (except car rides on too-windy roads) is FUN. Life is for exploration, running, chasing, fetching, wiggling, gazing and napping.
In the “olden days”, I had the honor of running with, and caring for Maxwell fairly often. He was a lot younger and less sure of himself then, and he had his favorite ways of self-soothing. He chewed on some shoes, books, my running clothes, my headphones and anything else that I forgot to put in the other room and close the door. This was all my fault of course, as I knew what Maxwell liked to do when my head was turned and he wasn’t completely passed out. If I forgot for a little moment, it would happen. But I didn’t really care. He was a puppy and he was learning! (Who wouldn’t want to run into the bathroom and steal my clothes while I was in the shower?) Most of these items weren’t damaged beyond use anyway, and he is just so sweet, so curious and so much fun.
Now that I remember back, I’m seeing these images in my mind. I can so vividly recall our Christmas morning run together -Maxwell, Polly and I, all alone with the trees in Forest park, our feet and paws carrying us over the frozen earth. I remember splashing in puddles at 1,000 Acres Park, playing with Polly in the back yard and jumping for the laser pointer in the basement.
I treasure these memories even more now. Every time I open that reference book with the chewed corner I’ll get to imagine little Maxwell sitting in his patch of sun, on his perch by the window with the trees behind him…he has a wonderful adventurous future ahead of him. Goodbye, Maxwell Braveheart Zoolander. Be a good boy!
And thank you, Clay for letting us be a part of your lives.