I went for a run today. The morning air was lovely and soft and I was awake, but since the weather has been so nice all week, I decided I would run at lunchtime.
Remember how I started this training stuff back in August when it was 152 degrees outside at 0600? Apparently there’s no difference between 75 degrees and 152 degrees. It was not a pleasant run.
I was reminded that my grandchildren would say, “You git what you git and you don’t throw a fit.”
Besides the heat and the sunshine, my feet were turning 360 degrees on my ankles and my legs were full of lead. I’m saying my legs felt heavy. Like logs made of lead. Leaden Lincoln Logs with a small, rusty hinge in the middle for knees. My shoulders were hunched up around my ears and I felt like one of those runners or swimmers who try really hard and make a lot of noise, but don’t seem to actually move forward.
About a half-mile into this stupidity, a small Pomeranian in a driveway across the street caught my eye. Caught my ear, too. He was bark, bark, barking at me and edging his way down the driveway to the street. A young man in the driveway called to the dog, but the dog ignored him. The guy seemed pretty calm about it, but I think at the same time we both realized the UPS truck was coming down the road.
I turned and saw the truck and the space/time continuum split down the middle so time would slow down. It probably all happened in a few seconds, but it seems to me even now it was at least several minutes. The dog came off the end of the driveway. Young man seemed pretty calm even when the truck came up alongside me. He probably wasn't really calm, ya think? I stopped. I saw the dog stop in the middle of the road. He finally focused on the truck rather than on the runner.
It’s too bad I didn’t have an apron on. I’ve read in books of old women who get distressed and throw their apron over their head. That was me without the apron. I threw my arms over my face and covered my head like I was in a 1950s nuclear bomb drill. I turned around away from the truck and slid my hands over my ears. I am not the sort of person who can bear to watch destruction of flesh and blood, but once the deal is done I am not typically fainthearted.
Immediately I turned around to see what needed to be done and I saw the dog intact on all fours, albeit clumsy and disoriented. Clearly shaken and wobbly, the dog trotted over to the curb closest to the owner.
Angry and relieved, I shouted at the young man. I swore a wee bit and called him ‘dude’ and that is the laughable part of all this. I shouted, “Damn, dude. Put the dog on a leash before he bites someone or gets killed.”
Note the order of my priorities – bites someone (hello? Like ME obviously) or gets killed. I heart dogs, I sincerely and deeply heart dogs and Pomeranians are my favorite little dog, but apparently I still come first.
Plus? I said ‘dude’ and that makes me laugh at myself. At the time, I was so angry I ran off up to the end of the cul-de-sac. I heard him shout after me, “He isn’t going to bite anyone!”
Good comeback, dude.
I made my way back around to that side of the street. I saw the dog run into the backyard with the young man behind him. The driver did the same thing and stopped in front of the house. He walked to the backyard with me right on his heels. He asked if the dog was ok and the kid said he thought so.
The dog had oil on his back, but everything seemed sound. Of course, he still should go to the vet. I just walked up to them, interrupted and apologized for snapping at him. The only other thing I said was this and it is true:
No one thinks their dog will do that, but dogs don’t like runners.
Even if they seem to be ok with most runners, you never know what will set a dog off. Is it the color of my shirt? Am I breathing too hard? Running slower or faster than other runners? Is there a child in the yard? Is the wind blowing the wrong way? I mean, they’re dogs…they’re animals. They do what they do and what they do can be a little unpredictable.
Large dogs can do a lot of damage, but a small dog can easily bite into a calf or thigh muscle and then we're all going to be extremely unhappy.
Even if your dog is a completely under your control, a runner doesn’t know that. So shorten the leash when we run by, OK?