Runners Must Be Kept On A Leash, Part 1

It is only ten o’clock in the morning, and I’m out there on the sidewalks of the city freezing my rear end off in the fall breeze looking for inspiration for another tidbit about writing. I think best when I’m out, running.

Something that I never really thought about before came to mind as I passed a woman who had THREE, count them all, dogs on a leash while she was doing this slow jog down the hill on the way to the post office (it’s like any other town geographically). Naturally, they were all small dogs, so there was no chance of this person being dragged through the streets and into yards should some stray cat or rabbit happen across the path which we were both traversing. I could imagine this poor woman jogging with three Saint Bernard behemoths and, in a scene right out of the “Beethoven” movies, something particularly appealing to canine senses would cross the sidewalk, and off she and the dogs would go. I could only hope that this woman was the next Marion Jones.

I own two dogs. One of them is a cocker spaniel of advanced years who spends all day gumming tennis balls and being generally indifferent to the world. Sadly, his arthritis prevents him from enjoying the great rounds of exercise he and I once shared. The other dog is a Newfoundland (for those who don’t know dogs, a Newfoundland is roughly the size of a bear), and she is a young and vibrant teenager of a dog (she is two, which makes her fourteen and trouble) with boundless energy. At the end of this particular run, I sat on the side of a small hill near the local library and thought about the only occasion on which I decided to take my sweet not-so-little Newfie on part of a run with me.

I had nearly completed a course of eight miles in the area around my neighborhood when I passed my own house for the fourth time. This time, I stopped for a moment and walked up the driveway where my mother was walking Harley (yes, we named her after the motorcycle – my father’s “dream hog”). I asked for Harley’s leash, telling my mother that I wanted to take Harley for the last mile of the run. My mother wasn’t sure it was a great idea, but she gave me the leash and wished my luck.

Within seconds, I was off and running, but I was the one on the leash. As I turned around to face the road, a minivan had zoomed past the end of the driveway. My quixotic furry gargantuan viewed the Dodge and decided to take me along for the skid. Actually, being a very quick runner, I managed to keep up with Harley. I did, however, have to let go of her for a few hundred feet, and in that short distance, I believe that she had put the 100-meter dash world record to shame.

I managed to regain control of Harley at the end of the neighbor’s driveway, I tugged on her leash and we ran the remainder of the mile uninterrupted. For the rest of the way, I lectured her sternly on how to PROPERLY start a run.

I should have realized at this point that, when you own a dog that is as tall as you are and when it is standing on its hind legs, it is likely to have enough strength to act as the owner and make you play the role of the pet. I have only been brave enough to run with Harley on a few other occasions in the past year, and each time, she has tried to engage her own version of warp drive at some point in the run.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.