Letting go

Mom says that I have trouble making friends because I’m an “asshole.” That’s silly, because I always make lots of friends at the dog park and have a wonderful time barking in their face until they curl up into a submissive ball, or get mad and nip at me (then I bark some more). I never knew how great a friend could be until I met my sister Bodie. She is the only dog I’ve ever met who thinks I’m great just the way I am.

If you were here last year, you already know my twin sister Bodie. We were separated at birth, but when we got older our families found each other. Luckily Bodie’s parents travel a lot, because then Bodie comes and lives with us for awhile. And guess what?! Bodie is back at my house again!

Bodie is a better runner than me and can run faster and longer, but I’m a better coach because I make Mom scream a lot less. When we ran this morning it was just like old times: Mom and I tried to run straight down the path, and Bodie ran from side to side as far as her leash would stretch muttering, “Oh boy! Oh boy! Long-eared cat place!” Bodie lives to chase bunnies, which is a real shame because Mom is scared of bunnies and screams and howls every time we run after one. Since we’re all tied together, it comes down to a vote about whether we chase bunnies or not. And since Mom is outnumbered, she loses and has to chase them if she likes it or not. Cats too. And rats. And bags that get caught in the wind. And stumps that look like they might be critters. That’s democracy.

As usual, I tried to do a nice thing for Mom and suggested that Bodie slow down.
“But aren’t we supposed to be coaches? I thought we settled this, she needs to run fast to learn how to be fast,” Bodie said, exasperated. “I’m really sick of never catching any bunnies.”
“Yeah, but this year she doesn’t want to race, so now we’re life coaches instead.”
“What does that even mean?”
“I don’t know, mostly I think I’m supposed to watch her runs and say insightful things about how it’s a symbol for her other bad habits.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” said Bodie. “OMG! DID YOU SMELL THAT!” And then we had to chase a bunny in all the directions because we weren’t sure what direction the real bunny was in.

I’m a gentleman, so when I run I like to run right behind a lady. When it’s just me and Mom, that means that Mom is the leader. When Bodie runs with us, I follow Bodie and Mom is the caboose. Usually Bodie slows down a bit after she poops, but this morning she didn’t stop going full gas for four miles. Mom had been whining at her and pulling on the leash that whole time. It was starting to get annoying. “Why don’t you slow down a bit so that Mom can keep up?” I asked Bodie.
“Because long-eared cats, Oscar! Duh.”
“But usually when you’re not here we run faster than this. I think you’re actually slowing us down by pulling her.”
“That’s ridiculous! The harder we pull, the faster she’s going to go. Watch this…” Bodie waited until Mom was in mid-air and then floored it with a full-speed bunny sprint. For a few seconds we were running like the wind, if the wind howled like a terrified and angry human. But after about 100 yards, Mom had finally gotten all of her feet on the ground and managed to plant herself and make herself an anchor.
“See? Now we’re stopped. I rest my case,” I told Bodie. “I think she’s actually slowing down on purpose.”
“Don’t be silly. I bet she’s just sniffing around for a good place to poop.”
“I think that if you really try to force something, that maybe life makes it so that it’s harder and harder for you to get it. Maybe that’s why Mom never lets you get the bunnies, and we always have to stop when we see one.”
“I think that’s just because she can’t run as fast as us…”
“No, I’m pretty sure that it’s because you’re trying to force it. If you just stopped trying to control the run all the time, I bet Mom would let you run faster and we could chase the bunnies all the way down the trail and into the ocean.”
“Oscar, you’re obnoxious when you’re coaching. Your lady may like this life coach business, but I think you’re full of bologna. Obviously if you want something, you should just keep trying harder and harder until you get it. That’s why I keep pulling the leash so hard. Sure, I have trouble breathing… but you can’t win if you don’t make sacrifices. You gotta really WANT it!”

So I guess we’ll never know if you can get the bunny if you stop trying to control things, because Bodie will never stop trying. You can’t help the helpless, I guess.

-Oscar the Coach

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