Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The friend I made, and lost

Last night was my night to run. I left a little upset (long story) and so I was not in the best, most charitable mood. As I turned a corner a few blocks from my house, a medium-sized mutt came hurtling after me. Now, if you were my sister Amy, you'd be surprised that I didn't run into a stranger's house crying, but in reality I just stopped running and prepared for whatever the dog was up to.

Luckily the dog was friendly. It swerved in front of me and took off a few paces ahead. I started running again and figured he would keep running off somewhere far from me. However, the dog continued to pace me as I made my jaunt down the road, always staying in front of me. I kept hoping he would turn down one of the many sidestreets, but he didn't.

So I discovered I'd picked up a friend for my Tuesday run. Part of my run leads me onto a dirt trail which joins a busy street. I hoped that my doggy friend would take off on the dirt path; he didn't. When I joined the busy road, he kept running with me. I don't think he was used to running because he kept darting in and out of the road, running in front of cars and crossing in front of me.

I yelled at him a few times to go home, but it didn't do any good. He paced me pretty well for a while, and then he slowed down. I felt bad for him, because even though I'm not a fast runner, the girth around his middle told me he wasn't used to running long distances. Before long he was trailing behind me, only catching up when I would slow down a little between sprints.

I was so mad. One, I was mad at how he was making me look like the most unresponsible pet owner ever. Despite the fact that he wasn't mine, he was running with me, and usually dogs that are running with people belong to those people. I HATED how he would run out in the street, and how it looked like I was allowing my portly dog to run sans collar or leash on a busy road with nary a glance backward. All those cars passing me seemed to be a reproach for myapparent carelessness. It made me feel like such a jerk.

Two, I was mad at the dog himself. I was torn between annoyance at him joining me and worry that he wouldn't keep up. I could see he was tiring, and there wasn't any shade or water to help him feel better. Plus the road many places where glass had been broken, and I kept worrying about the pads of his feet getting splinters. I kept wondering what I was going to do with him when I got home. Why had he picked ME to run with?

About a mile and a half from my house, he finally had enough, I suppose. He took off down a side street before I could catch him, heading off in search of water or his home, I'll never know which. I ran as fast as I could to the next corner so that he wouldn't try to find me.

Once he had gone, I realized I might miss him a little. If he had been my dog, I would have enjoyed the evening run with him. Even as mad as I was while he was with me, it was fun watching his joyfull leaps into the brush that line the road. How he couldn't resist stopping to smell something or check out a rustle in the field, but would cut it short to race to keep up with me.

Maybe he was a little like me last night, in a bad mood and needing some way to work out the frustrations in his head. Maybe we needed each other just at that moment in time. I just hope that he made it home safely. And that his owner will take him running.


heidikins said...

I would love to run with a dog in the evening, it makes me feel more safe. :o)


Amy Sorensen said...

What a sweet story! Although, I did giggle a little at the beginning. Sometimes the memory of that day just pops into my head and I can't help giggling then, too. Not AT you, of course. With you! I am totally impressed that the dog didn't freak you out. It would have made me nervous, and I can see exactly what you mean about being ticked at the owners. Dog people baffle me sometimes!

Amy Sorensen said...

ps, I think you should get a dog now, since you've run with one and it was all OK. Come know you wanna. ;)

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a time when my sister found a little boy in the middle of 3500 S. crying with no shirt on. No one was with him, and he was standing in the median of the road so she stopped to help him. Everyone driving by was honking and yelling at her to get her dumb kid out of the road.

I have to admit, I was kind of nervous about where this story was going. I though maybe the dog was going to get hit by a car... hence the friend you "lost." Phew! I'm relieved he just got tired. Hopefully he went home and got himself a big drink of water :)

Ginger said...

How sweet. We do need to hang out more. I'll try to make it to music tomorrow. Hopefully you will too.

Apryl said...

This happened to me once when I was living in Seattle. Except I knew where to dog lived & was too lazy to make it go back home. My punishment was getting yelled at by a random stranger about the dangers of an unleashed dog. I was all, "Dude! It's not my dog!" And random stranger said, "Blah Blah Blah, judgement, blah blah, irresponsible, I am a jackass, blah blah." It was awesome.

Lucy said... descriptive. I could see that little dog darting in and out of traffic and felt annoyed right along side you.