Goodbye Ringo

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Ringo Dingo  Sept 2005 – January 2015 – Rest in Peace

Anybody who has been reading this blog has noticed my little trail dog Ringo in the photos that accompany my articles. He died a couple of weeks ago after he ate a piece of a dog toy, had a bowel obstruction, and developed peritonitis. There was a lot of care, medications, and even a couple of surgeries; but in the end Ringo didn’t make it.

This was surprising because he had always been so tough. He could run twenty miles and still want to play fetch when he got home. This is the guy who pushed through some blinds, pushed open a screen, and leapt out of a second floor window to play fetch with one of his dog friends, and didn’t even so much as limp afterwards.

His last week and a half was his living hell; but the previous eight years were wonderful. When Margo & I rescued him he was a two year old “cowardly cowdog,” fired from three ranches in Lake County, Oregon for being afraid of cows, and being too friendly to be a watchdog – but he found his confidence as my trail buddy. We put in well over a thousand trail miles per year – running, cross country skiing, hiking, and mountain biking; not to mention going everywhere in the truck with me, coming to work with me at KFPC, and even coming with me when I took out the garbage. We are happy for you – your suffering is over – you are fine now. Margo and I will miss you for the rest of our lives. Rest in Peace, Ringo Dingo.

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We do have a new rescue dog, a kind, affectionate four year old border collie we call Joey, and I think he will make a fine trail buddy.

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Running Alone

Even before I was in persistent atrial fibrillation I generally would like to run alone, although occasionally I run with my wife, Margo. Bike riding was different – I would often go for mountain bike or road rides with friends. At this point, however, I generally go alone so I can just keep my own slow pace.

Ninety-five percent of the running that I do is trail running, and almost all that is done with my dogs – so technically I don’t run alone. They don’t care how slow we go – they are simply glad to be out there.

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Ringo on Mount McLoughlin

Ringo is a blue healer, border collie cross and is a great trail dog. He behaves well off leash, never chases anything, and always stays with me. There are a couple of races around here that allow dogs and he always gets to go along for these events.

Our other dog, Sophie, is a husky/shepherd cross and pretty much needs to be on leash 100% of the time (otherwise she runs off after God knows what), which can be challenging for trail running. It pretty much completely eliminates Sophie as a mountain biking partner.

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Running at Lake of the Woods with Margo, Ringo, and Sophie

I often run in wilderness areas, or even remote trails near town, and sometimes worry about having a fall and getting hurt on the trail. I guess that just has to be an acceptable risk. I like to say I’d rather die in Sky Lakes Wilderness (our local wilderness) than at Sky Lakes Medical Center (our local hospital – where I am on the surgical staff) – but I feel sorry for they people who find me – imagine finding somebody on the trail . . . that big and that dead! As a precaution I always like to tell my wife where I’m going, and of course, I always have my cell phone with me. I usually take a bandanna along so I have something I can use for a tourniquet if necessary – don’t forget I am on a potent anticoagulant (Pradaxa).

I’d be interested in hearing from other runners and mountain bikers who are training while on anticoagulants and find out what type of precautions you take. Please feel free to leave a comment.