Biskotouli – Our April Running Buddy of the MonthBy
My wife, Carolina, and I moved to Greece about 4 years ago and immediately started looking for a house and dog. On the morning that we were due to move in, Carolina spotted an advertisement for a gorgeous little puppy that needed a home. She rang the number immediately and arranged for us to meet him. It was truly love at first sight. Biskotouli was found in the mountains near Athens along with his mother who unfortunately was very sick and had to be euthanized. But her son immediately became a cherished member of our family.
I was running most days and started taking Bisko with me for company. In the beginning I was only covering short distances with him but on returning home could see he was still full of energy. We discovered he was obsessed with rocks, so we started draining his excess energy by throwing them up and down rocky cliffs, which he fetched with the agility of a mountain goat! Over time I increased the distance until eventually he was joining me on all of my training sessions, including my long runs of up to 40km. I just carried a collapsible water container and some snacks with me.
Bisko quickly became impatient with me and started demanding I take him for runs more often. He would go into our bedroom, take one of my running shoes and run outside and wait. How could I refuse this gorgeous boy! It wasn’t long before I entered Bisko in his first race, a 21km trail run up and down a mountain behind Athens. I couldn’t believe how competitive he was! He didn’t even want to stop for a drink; he just wanted to pass everyone and dragged me up that mountain with ease. Most people were shocked to see him passing them and nearly everyone wanted to hold his lead for some assistance. I spoke with so many people on that run and Bisko got a lot of encouragement; it was a really nice experience and I was so proud of him at the finish.
His next challenge was the Athens Classic Marathon. We ran this together in a time of 3hrs:50min. I’m not exaggerating when I say Bisko could have easily run this in under 3hrs if it wasn’t for me slowing him down! It was a truly moving experience entering the stadium at the finish and hearing so many people cheering for us. They were very kind to let him enter the stadium and give him a medal (he has a collection now).
You can’t imagine how happy Bisko gets when he hears the magic word (run) and how much it makes him smile. He is the happiest dog on the planet when he is exercising with us and without his company I probably wouldn’t run half as much. Bisko also enjoys kayaking and swimming and just recently competed in his first Triathlon (Tri4Pets) here in Greece. He finished both the 300m swim (beating me by about 50m!) and 5km run. I’ve just got to device a way of getting him to ride a bike and we have an IronDog on our hands!