My dog turns 8 in two weeks.

He loves to run, but at what point does he need to “retire”?

When I adopted my dog in 2007, I had marathon fever.

I was training to run in the Fargo Marathon that spring, and on my “long” runs of 10 miles or so I would fantasize about which dog I would adopt. I had my eyes on several.

Thinking about dogs took my mind off running, and I knew I wanted to adopt a running buddy.

Ace was my man. He was a 1-year-old Lab mix. Lean and fit and full of pent-up energy.

I adopted him that March, and every morning my dog and I ran together for about an hour. It really helped us form our bond and eventually we were going on runs of 8, 10 and 15 miles. He joined the marathon training group I belonged to and he even tagged along on my first 20-miler.

We were both young.

Woman and black lab mix running

Ace is the type of dog who’s happy to run in the morning and then sleep the entire day. This was ideal when I worked 10-hour shifts at the local newspaper. He’s always been the perfect dog for me. Super lazy, yet also up for running.

Fast forward seven years and Ace and I still run together, but not as far and not as fast. My dog has gotten older, yet I still feel so young.

He only needs a 20-minute walk each day to be content, and he’s tired if we run even three miles.

Sometimes his right knee gets a little stiff, and sometimes his right shoulder also gets sore. I give him lots of massages.

My dog loves to run, but at what point does he need to “retire”?

I don’t know.

This is a tough, emotional issue for me. Running is very much something that defines Ace and I. It sounds dumb, but it’s our thing. Heck, I started a dog running business because of my dog.

If I can’t run with my best friend, I’d rather not run at all.

We could stick to walking, which we also love.

I’ve talked to Ace’s vet about it, and she said to stick to walking if I’m not sure. Especially if he seems stiff after a run, which he sometimes does.

I know I’m not the only runner with a senior dog, so I thought I’d turn the question to you:

Do you run with your senior dog?