Stripey stink-cat

This morning our pack was back at the Wetlands that Smell Like a Fart. We all love The Fart: Mom because she always has a nice view of the sunrise across the bay, and Bodie and I because there are always interesting critters popping out of the brush for us to chase. Usually it’s bunnies, but sometimes it’s geese, or foxes, or gophers. I don’t have as much fun running there during the week though, because when it’s dark all the critters haven’t woken up yet.

We had had a mostly uneventful run for 7 miles, with only a few false alarm bunny sprints. We had less than a mile to go back to the car, and the sun was starting to come up when we smelled something rare. “A rare cat! A rare cat!” whined Bodie, getting low to the ground so she could strain at her leash without getting flipped around.
“It’s there! It’s really there! I smell it!” I barked, joining in on the excitement.
Mom tried to move forward at a really slow pace, but even she couldn’t contain our excitement without planting her feet and getting a little lower to the ground herself.

Then, up ahead, we could see it! It wasn’t a bunny, and it wasn’t a cat either. It looked like it might be a squirrel, but squirrels don’t usually sit still and this one was just sitting in the middle of the trail. “CAT! CAT! CAT! OMG! CAT!” whined Bodie, getting so close to the ground that she looked like Spiderman trying to drag Mom just a little bit closer. Slowly the squirrel-like-thing loped off into the brush. Squirrels and cats never move slowly.

Usually when a critter goes and hides, it’s gone for good. But just as we started moving again the rare cat popped back out of the brush and started walking back across the trail. Bodie and I were so excited I thought we were going to explode. Mom pinned us to the spot and we watched it slowly galumph across the trail, go into the brush on the other side, and then come back out AGAIN and start walking down the path in the direction of the car.

“Mom, let’s chase it! Let’s chase it!” I barked.
“No, we’re not chasing it. But I need to get back to the car, so we’re going to go slow.” We started to move at a snail’s pace.
“Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!” said Bodie, who was still pulling as hard as she could. As we got closer to it, we could see it better. “Black and white stripey stink-cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Bodie screeched. Her voice was so high with excitement that she was practically whistling.
“OH MY GOD NO!!!!!!! DUCK NO!!!! EVERYBODY FREEZE!!!!!!!!!!!!” Mom said in her monster voice. She jumped into the brush on the other side of the train and stood like a surfer, getting even lower to the ground herself to make sure that no one could move. So Bodie stayed screeching with her legs out and belly to the ground, Mom stood there hanging 10, and I stood there barking my face off as we watched the stripey stink-cat’s butt disappear into the brush for the last time. Then Mom held our leashes super short and crept by.

I didn’t know that Mom could be more scared of anything than she was of bunnies, but she was definitely more scared of the stripey stink-cat. In fact, she was so scared that she had actually torn the sole off of her new shoes trying to stop us. She was real grouchy about it when we got back to the car. Shoes: yet another dumb gadget for humans to obsess over, that ultimately steals the joy of the run…

-Oscar the Pooch

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