Gulliver was my running companion for nine years. But even more important than that, he was my friend! He was “Just a dog”, some may say. Well yes, he was a dog, but those of you who share your lives and your running routines with a dog will understand my feelings. No other explanation is necessary.
Gulliver was a Hungarian Vizsla, a breed known for energy, intelligence, and loyalty. He certainly had energy, almost boundless it seemed. I started to take him running with me to try and tap into that energy source. I only tended to slow him down. So another Vizsla, Duncan, joined our family to help share in the task of expending energy during the runs. Thus Team Vizsla was established.
In October 2011, shortly after Gulliver’s 8th birthday, the unthinkable happened. Gulliver was diagnosed with canine lymphoma. After we were able to process the initial shock, we found a treatment program for Gulliver at the M.J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania.
We resolved to keep Gulliver with us for as long as the treatments did not compromise his quality of life. And for 13 blessed months Gulliver kept on running! He never complained, was rarely uncomfortable, and always wanted to go for our daily runs. We slowed down a bit, were more conscious of weather issues, but we kept on running! Gulliver participated in 15 races in the last 13 months of his life, without any discomfort or struggle. He set the pace and we enjoyed every second of our time together! Gulliver kept on running right up until 2 days before he passed away, which happened in our (his) home peacefully.
We are determined to continue Gulliver’s race against canine cancer. “Gulliver’s Run” is being held to honor his memory and to raise funds for the research necessary to combat this terrible disease. “Gulliver’s Run” is a trail race for canine-human teams which is held at Gifford Pinchot State Park, where Gulliver and Team Vizsla spent endless time together. It is a beautiful, forested setting with a scenic lake and excellent accommodations. “Gulliver’s Run” is open to individual runners or walkers, but the emphasis is on the pairing of dogs and people. The goal of this “race” is to enjoy that bond and to raise funds to fight canine cancer.