I started riding fairly seriously about 17 years ago after my first dog died. I just couldn't bear walking without him. The next summer I got another dog who was a little easier to ride with but I still couldn't ride as seriously as I would have liked - he had some issues and couldn't be relied upon to be consistent. I've been without a dog for about 7 years now and I've developed a love of riding, but I'm also hurting for another dog. I guess I'm going to have to do some research and spend enough money to get a dog that can do some serious running to keep up with me.