Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not So Festive

On work days for me I take the dog to the park about 6:20am, aiming to be home by 7 or so. At this time of year our whole walk happens in the dark, especially on rainy days like today. As you can imagine, not a ton of folks are out at that time. Mostly it's other dog people, some avid fitness enthusiasts, the occasional cop, people on their way to work, and, recently, a team of paramedics who work out on the stairs between calls.

On rainy days you cut those numbers in half. At least. Certainly our posse of small dogs doesn't go gallivanting about in the mud and rain like a pack of, well, animals. It's beneath them. Not beneath Ed, though, or me. I love my dog but he needs to run a bit every day or it's hard to like him.

Ed is very good off leash, for the most part. I look for triggers and work to train him away from them or leash him up when training isn't possible. This morning, with so few folks in the park, it seemed like we'd have a pretty easy day. It started out weird when he wouldn't stay while I took off his leash and walked a few steps. I guess the rain made him anxious.

About halfway through our walk, on the back side of the park near the hospital entrance, we heard some talk echoing off the ambulance bay walls and he kept trending toward it. I called him and he came but kept looking over his shoulder. I called again with the same result but he wasn't any less focused so I leashed him up. His focus was on the exit and it's a busy road out there. I figured I'd unleash again when we got around the corner, out of sight of the street, if he seemed calmer.

While we walked a jogger passed us. Ed kept an eye on him as he approached from behind but seemed to sort of let him go when he got out in front. As promised, after we rounded the corner, I unleashed him.

That dog took off like he was the finale in an episode of Mythbusters. For a second I thought he was headed to where we often see Bobby. For another second I thought he was going to run his crazy circles on the grass. As the third second ticked by he was probably 200 yards ahead of me with the jogger clearly in his sights and there was no way I could catch him. Olympic sprinters couldn't catch him. I called to him a couple of times but not with much conviction since it was clear I wasn't a factor. I started to jog while calculating whether I should cut the angle by going over the hill or stay on the path. The dog disappeared around the next far off corner. I think I heard one shrill "woof."  I yanked my hood down to try and hear better over my slapping boots. Panicking a little I tried to pick up my pace but still couldn't decide what direction to go or whether to call out again.

Back he came. He was running at the same full tilt boogie, his light up collar a streak of red along the path. He reined in right next to me and sat right down, head tilted up for a treat. I didn't, honestly, know what the fuck to do.

Would you?


  1. At least he came back. I'm not so sure Hooper would until he was good and ready. He's a runner.

  2. Sometimes... I think they just have to pretend they are in charge. That wild dog look and the run makes me pee. My heart beats out of my chest and I scream Willllleee!
    I hate it.