The trail was still sweating off the month of rain in streams that dug a tiny canyon down the middle of the trail, and sometimes pooled into big patches of mud that I leapt over and Mom had to tip-toe through.
Mom mostly stays in one place and isn't very interesting to watch, so I've been patrolling the office and getting to know the rest of my pack better. They don't all have doggie telepathy like Mom and me, so I have to speak real simply and slowly to them so they'll understand.
I looked skeptically at Mom's knee. It looked like it was already connected together, even if it was a little floppier than usual and hung a bit like a puppet's leg when she walked. "Are you sure that the vet isn't just having you on so that he can sell you a surgery?" I asked. "Those psychos really can't be trusted." All she said was, "I'm so sorry..."
All the people who weren't at the mountain were really missing something special, because with the crowds gone, the cows were chilling right next to the trail. Not only that, but because cows are wide and flat like sails, they were all lying boneless on the ground so that they wouldn't blow away. I barked at a few of them, but they just rolled their big moo-cow eyes at me and stayed lying on the ground like dropped blankets.
...and my favorite: Meetings! Meetings are when everybody gets together in one room to let one person show off their barking while everyone else looks bored and watches jealously as I make the rounds and my collies take turns scratching my butt.
"Mom, mom! Come here and look! Quick! There's a man dressed like Smokey the Bear!" Then Mom came clattering out of the bushes. If she were a cartoon character, she would have had twigs in her hair, hashtags on her cheeks and forehead, and her tongue hanging out. But in real life she just looked like a lost person.
Because I'm a marathong coach, I know a loser's attitude when I hear one. I hadn't even had a chance to get bored and fall asleep yet. She jumped back on the dreadmill and ran another couple of steps, but it still sounded wrong, like the lub-dub in Mom's chest instead of her regular feet beat. After only a couple of seconds she stopped the dragon inside the dreadmill from roaring and sat on our bed. "I think it's really hurt," she said.
"But Mom, running isn't just about running fast and winning. It's about seeing the world, and feeling your body become a part of the world as the uphills squeeze your muscles, and the downhills pull you like a leash, and you breathe in as much air as you can until you are made of the same stuff as nature is." "I used to feel that way, Oscar. But now when I run I drop out of my body instead of dropping in. I just feel like garbage."
Well... mostly to ourselves. We were running through the skirt of the mountain, where the boulders and bushes fight to see who can win the trail, when I came around the corner and saw a turtle-person right in front of me. "What are you doing here? Let me see your early morning permit!" I barked. She looked suitably scared of me, so when Mom called my name, I figured it was okay to leave the turtle-person, go get Mom and show her.