There have been many studies in the past proving the athletic abilities of dogs. Many dogs have incredible stamina, making them more than capable of running a marathon. Westley, Waffle, and Gus, a trio of Labrador Retrievers, prove this point to be true.
The three Labrador Retrievers decided to run a marathon, however, they were not the ones competing in the race. They were running to assist their blind owner, Thomas Panek. The three dogs took turns guiding their owner while he participated in a marathon in the busy city of New York.
Westley, Waffle and Gus each ran approximately three to five miles with owner Panek. They each set a pace during the marathon so that it wouldn’t be strenuous on their part.
The three dogs were thoroughly checked by veterinarians before the marathon, making sure they were up for running the distance. All three passed the testing and were given a green light to participate. During the marathon, fluids were given to them making sure they stayed well hydrated.
Thomas Panek, now 48, is very thankful to his dogs for helping him be able to finish the race and cross the finish line. Panek was awarded as the first blind man to finish the 13.1 mile marathon.
Gus is the oldest among the three dogs. He is seven years old. Gus has been a long time running partner to Panek and according to Panek, he wanted Gus to go last. Gus was the one who ran with Panek across the finish line in Central Park.
Thomas Panek lost his sight when he was 23 years old. His lack of sight did not crush his spirit and he has been able to focus on something good from it. He enjoys running marathons and has been able to run despite his disability.
Panek has competed in more than 20 marathons. He has always had people as guides who would run with him, until this special race. The New York marathon was the first race where he used his dogs as guides. Thomas said he cannot thank his dogs enough for doing such a great job and he looks forward to running other races with his trio of dogs.