Falmouth Academy’s GAM
Hundreds gathered on June 30th at Falmouth Academy to participate in the 4th Annual CapeK9Cardio K-9 5k Trail Run and one-mile walk. Directed by CapeK9Cardio, a local pet sitting and dog exercise company owned by former Falmouth Academy parents Jason and Laura Michaud, the event donated 100% of its proceeds ($6,000) to Friends of Falmouth Dogs. Each year the proceeds are donated to a Massachusetts dog-related charitable organization. Next year, Massachusetts Vest-a-dog will be the recipient. Many breeds were represented this year, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes. The trail begins and ends in front of the school and winds through Beebe Woods.
Cape Cod Times Media Coverage
Dog Runs Marathon
[Read the Cape Cod Times Media Online]
By K.C. MYERS
October 26, 2008
EAST FALMOUTH — If you’re watching the Cape Cod Marathon today, look down.
Among the sea of legs will be one plucky pooch pounding the pavement.
Hunter, a 5-year-old Jack Russell terrier, has been training for today’s 26-mile marathon with his master Jason Michaud, owner of CapeK9Cardio. Hunter may have short legs, but he’s been Michaud’s running partner for two years and literally never tires of the pace.
“He’s done as many as 22 miles with me and he always wants to keep going,” said the veteran marathon runner from East Falmouth.
Though Michaud has never heard of a dog running a marathon, he knows that “all dogs have a runner in them.”
Hunter used to be somewhat aggressive, Michaud said.
Michaud noticed that when he took his three dogs for a walk, Hunter would be the one that always wanted to run. When Michaud biked, Hunter happily kept pace on foot.
Then two years ago Michaud, a 37-year-old air traffic controller, began running in earnest and competing in long-distance races. Hunter tagged along. “He’s never been so happy in his life,” Michaud said. “It’s completely changed his demeanor. He’s submissive, happy and relaxed.”
Michaud, the father of two Falmouth Academy students, is not only evangelistic about running for humans, he believes the sport can be a dog’s best friend as well. He recently founded CapeK9Cardio, a business in which he serves as a personal trainer for four-legged clients, including two obese Labrador retrievers.
He takes them on regular runs and monitors their diet.
The labs have lost 15 pounds in five months, he said. They started at a slow pace, completing just one-third of a mile per run. But now the labs can do three to four miles.
Such a distance would only tease Hunter, however, who looked crushed when he was left at home on marathon day last year, Michaud said.
So this year, Michaud decided Hunter should be trotting at his side when he reaches the finish line. “My friend said to me, ‘If you kill your dog, that will be really bad for your business.’ I had one word for him — Iditarod. The dogs run 110 miles a day.”
Canine Competes in Cape Marathon
By Joe Burns
Posted Oct 29, 2008 @ 02:36 PM
On Sunday, Hunter ran his first marathon, finishing the course in four hours and 17 minutes. He would have made better time but he ran with restraint so as not to get too far ahead of Jason Michaud, the fellow at the other end of the leash.
“If he could run at his own pace, I’m sure he’d break all records,” Michaud said.
At five years old, Hunter, a Parson Jack Russell, was by far the youngest runner in the Cape Cod Marathon. He was also the only entry running on four legs, giving him a decided advantage over Michaud and the rest of the runners.
At the conclusion of the run, while Michaud was recovering from what turned out to be a challenging run, Hunter, wearing a marathon medal around his neck, was gently tugging at the leash, eager for more.
Michaud and Hunter had been training for four months, running 50 miles a week, in preparation for the marathon, which was Michaud’s second.
Like Hunter, Michaud, 37, is new to marathon running. Two years ago, Michaud, an air traffic controller at the Otis Air National Guard Base, was a weightlifter with a bulked up 225 pound body that was weighing him down.
“I had a lot of muscle but less energy,” said Michaud, who recalled being tired after climbing a flight of stairs.
Deciding to take his exercising in a new direction, Michaud hit the road, training and running in the Falmouth Road Race. A year after he began running, he’d slimmed down to 180 pounds. He’s now a fit and trim 170 pounds.
An animal lover, Michaud has two other dogs besides Hunter, and he began taking them on five- mile runs. But it was Hunter that always wanted to go further.
“Every time I put on my sneakers he wanted to go with me,” Michaud said.
It wasn’t just Hunter’s enthusiasm that made Michaud realize he’d found a running companion. It was also Hunters’ age, health and breeding.
“His biomechanics are for running long distances at a great pace, ”Michaud said. “He took to [long runs] right away.”
For their runs Michaud brings along a collapsible water dish and a water bladder, so that Hunter doesn’t get dehydrated.
Running hasn’t only benefitted Michaud. He said he’s seen a difference in Hunter as well.
“I saw a change in his behavior. He was aggressive and not friendly toward other dogs,” said Michaud, of his companion.
“That behavior changed immediately.”
Seeing the advantages that exercise has had for Hunter, Michaud has applied it to other dogs as well. He’s started a new business, CapeK9Cardio, which provides dog running and walking, pet sitting and pet shuttle.
“It’s a fitness program for dogs,” Michaud explained.
His canine clients don’t go on Hunter-sized runs; a proper exercise plan of runs or walks are determined after interviewing the owner and examining the dog. As with any exercise program, the level of exercise is increased gradually.
“They all feel they need a job. Running can fill that void,” Michaud said.
A volunteer with the Friends of Falmouth Dogs,” Michaud has been walking and running the dogs in their kennel. Kathy Long, of the Friends of Falmouth Dogs, said she noticed the change.
“It calms them and it socializes them,” she said. “It’s just what they need.”
Michaud offers a discount for people who adopt dogs through the organization.
A Tired Dog Is A Good Dog
By MARTHA V. SCANLON
Jul 18, 2008 – 11:45:23 AM
While training for the Cape Cod Marathon last fall, Falmouth resident Jason Michaud brought his Jack Russell terrier, Hunter, running along with him. The two ran up to 50 miles in a week.
Mr. Michaud noticed that the regular exercise dramatically improved Hunter’s behavior, changing him from an aggressive dog to a friendly one, and he decided to start a business that would help other dog owners experience similar changes.
“I figured, maybe this could be a service that I offer to other people,” Mr. Michaud said.
Last month, he began Cape K9 Cardio, an exercise service for dogs that is based out of his home. The motto of the business, he said, is “a fit dog is a happy dog.” Similar to humans, obesity is a problem among dogs, Mr. Michaud said. A lack of exercise can contribute to aggressive and poor behavior in dogs. In addition to a longer life span, fit dogs are often better behaved because they are more relaxed and submissive.
A German shepherd that he worked with recently placed first in a show, something that the dog’s handler attributed to its increased exercise.
Before he starts running with a dog, Mr. Michaud conducts an interview with its owner to learn about its temperament and its exercise ability. He looks at the dog’s current fitness level and its age and breed, and takes it on a trial run to develop an exercise plan.
Runs range from 30 to 60 minutes and include a warm-up and cool down.
Mr. Michaud even carries a collapsible water bowl and water bottles to make sure the dog stays hydrated during exercise.
He said that he monitors the dog during the run and sticks to a pace where the dog is comfortable. He also wears a GPS watch that allows him to provide owners with their dog’s route and a training report. He takes the dogs for runs in their neighborhoods, or, for a small travel fee, will bring them to places like the Shining Sea Bikeway or Goodwill Park.
Originally, the business offered only running for dogs, but it now also includes dog walking, pet sitting, and a “pet shuttle” that takes pets to vet and grooming appointments. Mr. Michaud said that he currently has customers in Falmouth, Sandwich, and Mashpee, and hopes to eventually expand to cover the whole Cape.
An avid runner who has completed the Falmouth Road Race and Cape Cod Marathon for many years, Mr. Michaud said that the business is enjoyable for him because he loves the sport so much.
“[CapeK9Cardio] has really fit in well with my lifestyle. I’m running all the time anyway.”
Mr. Michaud is also an Air Traffic Controller at Otis Air National Guard Base, and his wife, Laura A. Michaud, works for Inn Season Resorts on Falmouth Inner Harbor. The Michauds have lived in Falmouth for seven years and their two daughters, 14-year-old Alexis and 12-year-old MacKenzie, both go to Falmouth Academy.
In addition to Hunter, the family also has Joey, a Jack Russell terrier that they adopted from Friends of Falmouth Dogs, and Quilla, a Cairn terrier mix that Mr. Michaud got while he was stationed in Germany with the Air Force.
More information on Cape K9 Cardio is available at capek9cardio.com.