"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."
"What's an obstaple?" I asked. "I don't know. Like crawling through mud and jumping over stuff and things. I didn't really read the website that closely. You'll love it. I brought treats." Now I was real excited to do obstaple racing and show off how good I am at getting dirty and looking cool in pictures. But I guess Mom didn't read the website closely at all because she found out that the humans had to do the obstaples too. "Oh, well I can't do that," Mom told the lady with the t-shirts. "I have a medical issue." "Mom, what's a medical issue?" I asked. "It means that I'm wearing socks," she said.
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.
Once we started walking downhill on the shady side of the mountain, Mom, whose heart pumps ice rather than blood, started to turn blue. Every mile or so, I had to come back to her and block the path so that she could bang her hands on my handsome butt until she could feel them again. It wasn’t that cold, Mom is just made with lizard parts.
Who's to say one human's goals are better than another's. There is room on the course for all kinds of runners*, and if everyone were fast then it would be too crowded for anyone to run their best race. Telling Fabiola that she should quit her 10K just because she walks a lot would be like telling Michael Phelps that he should quit swimming because he's never going to win the Super Bowl. Michael Phelps would of course tell you that the Super Bowl isn't his goal, and then put on his 23 gold necklaces and laugh at Tom Brady's 5 tiny Super Bowl rings.
Then The Man threw something on the ground a few feet in front of us. I looked where it fell, and... "HOLY CRAP!" I said. "There's a spaghetti monster sitting right next to where you were tapping your boot a second ago! Hang on, let me go check it out." The spaghetti monster was about as big around as a rope leash, and had a shakey thing on one end that made noise, and mean eyes on the other end. I knew from experience that this was called a "rattlesnake" from when Mom and I saw a bigger one
This morning Mom took me to a trail that I didn't recognize, and imagine my surprise when one of my professors was waiting for us! I was so excited to see her after all these years, and squeaked like a manly cowboy for Mom to let me off the leash so that I could go knock her over. As I got close, a dog stepped in my way and said, "Just who do you think you are, and what do you think you're going to do to my Mom?"
I'm not the one with leash aggression, that's Mom! Mom is the one that growls and snarls and gets all exasperated every time I stop to sniff something in detail and the sudden braking whips her around. She's the one that throws a temper tantrum and barks bloody murder when we chase a squirrel or a cat. I don't know why she can't just chill, so I usually ignore her while she's acting out and being unpleasant.
I was adopted, and it was the best thing that happened to both me and Mom, but mostly Mom. We want to repay our good luck by helping other strays find the same kind of love and security that we have. Mom is "allergic to children," so we can't bring any home, but there are other ways to help. Instead, I have committed to raise money for Mountain Circle Family Services, which runs programs so that the stray people puppies can learn leadership through fun adventures a lot like those that Mom and I enjoy together. Just like Mom loves me, keeps me safe, teaches me about the world, and takes me to explore, Mountain Circle provides the same kind of love to the people puppies until they find their forever home.