See video here
Today was quite possibly the worst run ever – or at least the worst a run has ever been without being fatal. First, it is hard being a responsible people-owner. People prefer to run a steady speed that allows very little room for excited sprinting, or stopping suddenly to check pee mail or shake off water directly in front of your human running partner. Add to that, a responsible dog always keeps his person on leash unless you are inside that one tiny spot in the entire known universe where dogs are allowed to let their people off leash in public. This makes it even harder to keep the exact perfect pace, because if you run too fast, you pull your human, which is upsetting, stressful and possibly dangerous for them. If you run too slow, that creates slack in the leash, which drags and swings as you run and can catch your person by the leg. Of course, dogs get their legs caught in the leash all the time, but humans (insisting on running on 2 legs like they do) react to being tied up in the leash by screaming, hopping around like idiots, and sometimes diving face first into the mud.
As wonderful as she is as a sister, protector, playmate, and slightly less attractive version of myself who can only stand to underscore my perfection, Bodie isn’t a very good people owner. The trail we ran today starts with a brief downhill on asphalt that gets very slick in the rain (of course it was raining). Bodie decided to take this section at a 1-minute-per-mile pace, dragging a screaming and terrified Mom behind her. Once we got to the trail, we found that more often than not the “trail” had turned into a muddy and continuous downhill stream. When you take your people running in such conditions, you have to make sure to go slow enough for them to pick their footing carefully. If you pull on their leash, this affects their balance and can make them stressed out and aggressive. People especially seem to hate getting their socks wet, so unexpectedly landing in a puddle for a person is a bit like having a bath for them and may make them lash out. Bodie doesn’t seem to know all this.
People also aren’t good at sharing a single track trail. If the trail is narrow, and you run directly next to them like a good dog, of course you’re going to bump their leg every other step. And with that ridiculous running style of theirs, of course bumping their legs into each other mid-stride is going to mess with their balance. That’s why running on 2 legs is a silly way to run. This was my problem, as I tried to avoid the mud blast zone that I usually run in (about 2″ behind Mom’s right foot).
Mom tried to manage the situation by illegally letting us off leash, but another thing that responsible people-owners know is that humans get separation anxiety if you get outside their bubble of telepathic control. Bodie and I immediately started playing tag, and since we’re great athletes, we were getting pretty far outside Mom’s bubble of comfort to a distance where we could just ignore her. When Bodie ran down the steep brush-covered slope about 30ft into a ravine, Mom made us get back on leash and Bode went back to mushing and dragging Mom through the mud behind her. So we were already having trouble when… we reached the top of the mountain and started going down.
If people don’t like being pulled through the slippery mud uphill, they really, really don’t like it downhill. That was when Mom really started getting overwhelmed to the point where a human attack is possible. She spent most of the way down saying either, “Bodie, please!” Or “Easy!” Or, “Pl….EASY!” Or just regular screaming… and maybe a little whining… and maybe a little less actual crying.
And then the sky broke.
Ever since Bodie and I put together that Mom makes it rain when she’s upset, we’ve tried not to make her TOO upset. But today Bodie forgot herself, and instead of punishing us with more rain, Mom made little gravel particles that stung like bees fall down from the sky. The sky-bees frightened Bodie, who tried to run down the hill faster, which stressed Mom out even more, which made the sting pellets pouring down on top of us. By the time we got back to the car, everyone was relieved that it was over. Then the sun came out.
On the way home I told Bodie (who was shivering in the footwell behind the driver’s seat), “Don’t worry. She’ll cheer up once we get home and she can have a hot cup of coffee and share some eggs with us.” Once we got home, Mom rinsed the mud off her legs and was getting out all the things for coffee and eggs and toast when the world made a muted “thunk” and then all the light-up things in the house went dark. A hangry Mom had to go out without her coffee and egg time. A bad day indeed.
-Oscar the Pooch