Gadgets

My pack got up early this morning so that we could go on a really exciting adventure: trail running in the dark! We get lots of practice running in the dark, but it’s usually on sidewalks, My Trail (which is paved) or wide, flat dirt paths. We never run up mountains in the dark. Mom and I have a favorite mountain to climb, but we have to go early because dogs aren’t supposed to be on the trail that we take to the top. If we’re not the first ones on the trail, then Mom won’t let me go on it. That means that we usually only get to climb that mountain in the summer when it’s light. But not today!

It is very dark in the mountains at night because mountain trees don’t wear lights, and they even block the stars and moon and stuff. We couldn’t see much except what was in Mom’s spotlight… which meant most of what we saw was Bodie’s butt. Since Bodie’s leash now has to stretch all the way to her chest, there’s less room between her and Mom for me to run. I tried running behind Mom, but I then I couldn’t see the spotlight and I was too far from the action, so I decided the safest place to run would be right next to Mom. The problem was that the trail was only wide enough for me, so I had to bump Mom a lot. Mom, for her part, thought that the trail was only wide enough for her, so she complained to me a lot. Next to the trail was a steep ravine.

“This is a single lane road, Oscar! Get in your lane!”
I know about roads, because I help Mom drive. “But Mom, we’re in the same car!”
“This is more like a train situation. Everyone’s got to go single file. Either get in front of me or be the caboose!”
I thought that was a dumb metaphor so I turned off my doggie telepathy and pretended like I didn’t hear her. Then I shoved her toward the cliff.

I don’t know about other humans, but Mom is all into measuring stuff. She always has her face in one gadget or another, and gets real grouchy when they don’t work. Her newest obsession is this thing that attaches to her belly and beeps at her really loud when she’s grouchy. It’s supposed to be for people who are sick, so she can’t turn the beeps off. But Mom is not sick, just curious, so the beeps just make her even grouchier.

This morning the beeps were telling her that her gadget wasn’t working. We were running along having a very nice time indeed, and then every few minutes a loud beep would interrupt us. Bodie and I would turn and stare at Mom, and mom would grumble about ducks. It would take Mom a few minutes to calm down between the beeps, and then it would beep again and she would get mad all over again. “It oughta be illegal for people to sell gadgets that don’t work!” she growled, looking at her phone.
I imagined a jail full of the makers of “indestructible” toys that I could rip apart in minutes and “no pull” leashes that Bodie pulled on like a sled dog.
“They wouldn’t go to jail! I would put them in the stocks in the town square. Then I would go down there every afternoon and throw rotten vegetables at them!”
That reminded me of something. “Wait… a… second! Isn’t that what you do with me when you walk me to Starbucks? You tie me up in the town square and then throw treats all over the ground. I thought you were trying to calm me down. What bad gadget did I ever sell to you to deserve that?!”
And then Mom cried and apologized and said she’d never take me to Starbucks again. Just kidding, no she didn’t. She said, “Well that’s different… It’s different for people.” I don’t actually think it’s different for people, but people think they can do things to dogs that they wouldn’t do to people.

Anyway, I hate it when Mom gets all grumpy like that. By the time we got to the top of the mountain, the sun was rising and our whole pack was together in a beautiful place with lots of fun things to smell and look at. Instead of stopping to smell the deer poop and critter holes, Mom kept stopping so that she could point her phone at us and take a picture. Then she would get all bossy and drag us by the leash so that we would stand just so. She said she was appreciating the scenery, but she didn’t seem to be having much fun.

Bodie on the other hand doesn’t have any gadgets. She runs around with her ears forward in excitement and a big grin on her face. She can’t wait to get around the corner and see what’s next, and when she stops it’s because she’s so absorbed in excitement that she must learn more. She isn’t always trying to save her experiences for later, so when she gets home she just naps. I wonder if Mom ditched all her gadgets whether she would be more like Bodie, or if she would just stop taking me on adventures if she didn’t have anything to measure…

-Oscar the Pooch

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