Jenny Meadows emerged from the 2015 indoor season as the world-leading 800m runner courtesy of an iPB of 1:59.21 in Vienna. As she gears up for the outdoor season, the Brit tells SPIKES about her former training partner: meet Harvey the dog.

Naming rights

“Harvey’s great grandma won Crufts. He’s a pedigree miniature schnauzer. When we bought him he came with a timeline, like a family tree, and they all had show names.

My husband [Trevor] is called Painter, so they called him Painter of the Meadows. If we wanted to show him that would be his name.”

Fear fighter

“I never really used to be a dog person. We got Harvey because when I moved from 400s to 800s I had to go on longer runs and I’m petrified of dogs. If I saw a dog, it would spoil my training run. I would literally freeze.

“Now I know if a dog comes up to me, they’re just being playful, they can jump up and I’m fine with it. But it used to almost ruin my life because I was so petrified of dogs. So he’s just helped me understand what dogs are about.”

Training partner

“He’s the most athletic dog ever. When he gets his hair cut the groomers always say how muscular his stomach is and how toned he is.

“He actually used to come on runs with me, but he’s eight now. Up till about aged six he would come on an hour run with me, no problem.

“He was a great training partner, but he gets a bit stiff the day after now. It’s not really fair to make him do it, but he wants to do it still.”

Can’t kid a kidder

“I miss him [when I have to travel away]. My mum has him sometimes and Trevor’s parents have him. They have livery stables so there are lots of girls coming to look after the horses and stuff, and there’s pigs and chickens so he has a great time. He just goes down the farm and loves it.

“But I Skype him. When he was younger I’d be on the phone or Skype and he’d look and get excited. But now he’s older he thinks ‘well she’s not there’. He actually knows he’s not going to see me any time soon if I’m on Skype, so he doesn’t really listen.”

No show

“He’s almost too intelligent. It sounds stupid but you’ll throw a ball for him and he’ll get it. Then you say bring it back and he will. Then you throw it again and he’ll look at you like ‘well I’ve done that once, I’m not going to do that again!’.

“We all say he’s like Brian from Family Guy, we’re sure he looks at us like he’s really intelligent.

“He knows what everything is. We’ll tell him to go and get a certain toy; he knows the difference between 20 minutes and one hour, because when you say one hour he’ll gulp.

“He’s absolutely incredible. If we told him to go through a tunnel and jump on something I think he’d think ‘Well what’s the point of it?’ So it’s probably too late to show him now.”

Like no other

“When the day comes when he won’t be around I probably won’t be able to get another dog for a long time. He’s definitely one of a kind.

“I’d never had a dog before, and my husband never had a dog before, but we know it’s not normal what he does. We’re really lucky.”