I was reading another running blog recently and I stumbled upon a few pictures of a beautiful red Stumpy Tail Australian Cattle Dog, Cooba. One of the pictures was of Cooba looking normal while a runner held a GPS unit in front of his face – distance of the run he’d just done: 74 km!
The runner in question is Clarke McClymont, and Cooba the Cattle Dog is his training partner as he prepares himself for ultramarathons like last year’s Kokoda Challenge, where the team he was in smashed the race record by around and hour and thirty minutes, over some of the toughest terrain in a trail race anywhere in Australia.
Cooba was bought in the outback mining town of Coober Pedy, and has travelled extensively with Clarke and his wife Tiffany. He’s three and a half years old, and regularly runs thirty to forty kilometres in training. He’s also been known to surf on a longboard and plays fetch at the beach for hours at a time. Four weeks ago he did a 50km road run with Clarke, then he swam after a stick at the beach for an hour. The McClymonts thought they had broken him when he slept in the car on the way home, but as they drove into their street Cooba had to jump out the window and go across the road to join in a soccer game with the neighbourhood kids until dark.
Cooba has no trouble with his weight, because he has such an active lifestyle. He goes to work every day with Clarke and does pretty much every run with him, except for races. Cooba eats Proplan for highly active and working dogs. A cup in the morning and a cup at night. If he’s been good he gets a can of sardines in oil over them. He also goes nuts for chicken necks and bones.
As well, he has to confess to being not just an ‘indoor’ dog, but an ‘in bed’ dog too. “In terms of sleeping arrangements, he starts the night on his mat but usually ends up between us on the bed at about 4am – usually diagonally with all of the doona.” says Clarke of his dog.
When Cooba was 6 months old he snapped his cruciate ligament jumping out of the window of a stationary car. It was feared he would never be able to run but the McClymont’s vet tried a new procedure to repair his leg and so far he is the perfect case study. The vet often slows down if he’s driving past to assess his gait.
So far, so fantastic for our May running dog of the month!