April is Canine Fitness month—a 30-day reminder of the impact exercise has on our pups' physical and mental well-being. No one gets this more than Rebecca Kennedy, Peloton instructor, athlete, and mom to Sunny the Sato. We sat down with Rebecca to chat about how she and her pup stay primed and motivated for the long run.
Ollie: How’d you meet your pup, Sunny?
Rebecca Kennedy: I was out for a run and saw a woman walking the cutest dog wearing an adoption vest. I stopped because I obviously had to pet this pupper, and while this pup had already been adopted, the nice woman introduced me to the shelter Safe and Sound Satos. I immediately got in touch with their founder, Sally, and told her I was looking to adopt. She found Sunny and her sister a few months later and reached out directly to me, and weeks later Sunny flew from Puerto Rico to NYC! We met for the first time on her adoption day at the Newark airport!
Ollie: Did you always know you wanted a rescue dog?
RK: Yes, my family always adopted dogs growing up. It felt right for me personally to rescue a dog that needed a good home and a lot of love. Adopting means a lot to me, and if I can help, I will.
Ollie: Running with Sunny seems only natural, but be honest, who coaches who?
RK: It's no surprise here, Sunny leads the way, her energy is like an everlasting bunny, and her thirst for life matches mine. We collectively hold 90% of the world's curiosity (haha). Sunny is always game, no matter the day, time, location, or weather. Movement and play is our love language.
Ollie: Can you tell us about a time Sunny motivated you to get out the door?
RK: In the winter, we spend a little less time outdoors than she probably prefers, winters in NYC are bitter! Her puppy eyes are kryptonite, I crave movement the same, but I'm able to workout indoors. I decided to bundle up, rent a car, and take her to a trail upstate on a VERY snowy day. By the time we got there, she was bounding through the snow like a deer, walking over rivers on a tree that had fallen over, having the time of her life. My energy was immediately impacted by hers. Even in 30-degree weather and snow up to my shins, she single-handedly brought so much joy and energy into my heart. From that point, hiking has become our thing. The sparkle in her eyes in nature is enough motivation for me.
Ollie: What does it mean to you to be active with Sunny?
RK: Being active is necessary for her, for us both actually, but unlike with human companions, Its always authentic with no ulterior motives. She doesn't need to be promised a treat to play or feel shamed into it, and I've never once seen her drag her feet to go for a walk or to the park. The lesson she silently teaches me is that play doesn't need to be earned, it's part of life. We are worthy of play, we are worthy of rest, we need both for a happy healthy life.
Ollie: What’s been the biggest challenge for you and Sunny during the pandemic?
RK: I actually found a silver lining during the pandemic, because I got to spend so much more time with her. She's my best friend, my heart, and time is a gift we don't get more of. Dogs provide unconditional love, something we all needed this past year. A safe place for your heart, a furry shoulder to cry on, a reason to get vitamin D, a source of light on the dark days. I found solace in having someone to care for to keep my mind off just myself.
Ollie: What’s your go-to post-run snack? What about Sunny’s?
RK: PB&J and a Cara Cara Orange for me! Salmon or some lamb for Sunny! She's a big fan of pig ears and ostrich tendons too.
Ollie: The Summer Olympics are coming up—if they were to create an event just for Sunny, what would it be?
RK: She would definitely be a SOLID hide and seek athlete, she's quick and clever. Or sock hunting. She's a bounty hunter for socks.
Ollie: What’s your favorite thing to do with Sunny in your downtime?
RK: Go for long walks, hike, or play tag in the house!
It's the final stretch and now it's time to SPRINT to the end!
Who’s faster: you or sunny? Sunny by a stretch.
Peanut butter: crunchy or smooth? Crunchy.
Runs: Slow and long or short and fast? Slow and long.
Warmups or cool-downs? Both!
Off-leash or on-leash? Off-leash is a dream!
Who naps the hardest post-workout? Sunny crushes naps.
Early bird or night owl? Night owl no doubt.
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