It is not a typical Saturday for me today. We got up early to be at Guardian Animal for our annual 1-mile paw walk and our 5K race. Some of us were up earlier than others so we had to hustle to get everything in place for the 8:00 am start.

It was a warm day even in the early morning. We had a few walkers for the one mile and a few more runners. Two people ran their first ever 5K and both placed first in their age groups.

For the organizers, it is a while from when folks head over the hill to Giovanni’s until they come back up the hill. Because of the slope of the hill, we could see the runner coming long before we could tell who it was.

Imagine our surprise when we could finally tell that it was our own very young intern that had left everyone behind and headed in first. James has been ‘helping’ at the clinic for several months now. He is quite smart, but he squirrels a bit. Still, he is a good kid and we all like him. So the shouts went out “It’s James!” “It’s James. James is going to be first!”

Now it was not just James’s youthful vigor that won the race. James had been practicing in the park for this run since he found out about it.

I gave him a high five and a hug after he came across the finish line. I went to hand him a water, but he took off. His mom said he had to pee and felt like he wanted to puke. I got that last part. My military running always made me feel like I wanted to puke.

Jennifer Newsom was the next runner and the first female. She may have been a few minutes later, but she looked in much better shape coming across the line.

All of our runners were across the finish line in well under an hour. Given our course, that is not an easy feat. The last mile plus of the course is the hill that never ends! I led the ambulance in on the last very flat 5K I ‘ran’ with a not very respectable 59 min and forty-some seconds. A lot worse than my 17 min two-mile run times of my youth.

The awards were messed up. The trophies were bigger than we wanted and they missed our metal orders entirely. We used prior metals with stickers in the last-minute pinch. Still, I wasn’t happy with paying $78 for two trophies.

From the smiles of James and the first place woman, the trophies were nice. We will do better next year on the metals.

Pappy’s made food for all the volunteers and the post-race meeting. Erika handled the debrief in preparation for next year. We have a list of things to do better. And a list of things that really went well to make sure we did again.

Meanwhile, I took off to the Boyd County Master Gardeners Herb Day with Casandra. They had an excellent program set up for herbs and gardening. Unfortunately, their program was plagued with more problems than our race. The public address system was not functioning properly and although the slides were well done and informative, the talk was impossible to hear. Still, lunch was good and I saw several clients and former clients. The staff often teases me, because I have to be in the right frame of mind to go out into society in the aggregate. Casandra now has a good idea of the number of folks that come up and ask for free vet advice. Although at least today, everyone was nice.

I stopped by the house where a friend had spent the morning and cleaned up the brush that had gotten away from me. The change is amazing! I don’t know what I did to earn such a friend, but I am truly grateful. What was overwhelming is now something I can keep up with and manage. I think I will plant in pots to keep it manageable now.

Said friend met me at the clinic to help feed the baby hawk and help with quail. Friendship with me comes with interesting experiences. My job IS pretty cool. It does come with quite a bit of responsibility. I am always checking to make sure care is done correctly.

My last job was pretty amazing also. I haven’t seen it yet and the online access isn’t working for me, but I’m told there is an article about my time in the Coast Guard in a local paper. I’ll try to round up a copy on this, the anniversary of my graduation from the United States Coast Guard Academy.

It has been a busy day.