Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Mother load

Morning runs are always interesting. Not so much because I have animal problems (I can't get my ass out of bed), but because I have other animal problems.

A couple days a week I'll take my GF's dog with me. She's away at rowing practice, so a few good miles will tucker him out for the rest of the day, and she doesn't have to walk him when she gets back. I started off using a regular 6' nylon (I think) leash, but have since switched to the "umbilical cord". I'm able to run with a normal arm swing instead of using one hand to hold the leash, and he's good around running along the sidewalk... sometimes.

I say "sometimes" because he gets bored after about 30 minutes and spends the time trying to find something to eat, or the perfect running stick. He also likes to chase after squirrels, birds, and ducks, or want to say hi to any passing dog, no matter how far away from us that it is. So these runs turn into core exercises (holding myself upright.. and on both feet.. when he dashes after the small game) and resistance running (pulling him along as he stops to mark everything or whine at the dog across the street that I won't let him meet. He loves runs after windy days where there are sticks galore! to choose from. His favorite is one about 4-6' long that is awkward to carry in his mouth. He's so happy as he carries it in his month, his ears flapping and and extra bounce in his step like he won the lottery.

In addition to small game, other dogs, and sticks, he likes poop. I knew he liked cat poop as he'd eat from my cats litter box (dessert!) when we'd forget to block off the basement steps, but I didn't know about his fondness for other dogs poop, or even horse manure, until this weekend while running along the Bull Run-Occoquan Trail. I was able to stop him the few times he lunged for it (oooh! piece of candy!), but I'm sure he got a few morsels.

On Wednesday he hit the mother load.

He ignored the remnants of the dead squirrel along Maine St and paid no attention to the other runners coming at us. The umbilical cord stretches quite a bit, and if I can tell that he's going to run at someone instead of by them, I'll usually pull it closer and shorten it. After running by the the Tidal Basin, crossing the Kutz Bridge along Independence Ave and passing W Basin Dr, that's when he saw it. I was in an endorphin filled state of bliss and looking at the cherry blossoms (no crowds!) when he lunged toward the road. He wasn't going after a car, a squirrel, or a bird.. it was at the largest pile of manure along the side of the road!

He tore into that pile of manure like kids opening presents on Christmas morning. I pulled him back and held him between my knees as I pried his mouth open (no! mine!) and shook out those yummy clumps of hay and godsknowswhateverelse. I wasn't quick enough to grab his collar as he went right at the yumminess at his paws that just fell out of his mouth. I repeated the removal process and walked away from the treats with him still between my knees, just far enough so he couldn't get at it for a third time.

We continued on.. him smacking his chops and me inspecting the manure on my gloves.. while those in there cars along Independence Ave SW enjoyed the show.

Sometimes it is worth it to drive to work and catch such a spectacle at someone elses expense.


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