Lessons in Running with the Dog

My dog hates old people. And bikes. And skateboards. And other dogs.  Maybe hate isn’t the right word. Maybe she’s terrified. So terrified that she nearly rips my arm off with her leash as she lunges toward all of the above as they each pass us by. Okay, maybe not ALL of them, but too many. Some days she’s her great, gentle, fun-loving self, some days she’s a total jack-ass. Why? This I ask myself.

So, I’ve been paying attention to the details – yesterday morning she nearly gave an older woman a heart attack. I had said a pleasant “good morning” to the woman, she smiled and nodded my way. I let my guard down (this is before I started, you know, paying attention to the dog-related details for the day). I forgot about my freaker-dog for a little while (because she was being so calm and lovely) when, suddenly, she lunged, barking, toward the woman, who jumped back, eyes widened. She scurried away from us looking over her shoulder, clearly shaken.  “Désolé! Désolé!”  I called after her.  Sigh.

Does my dog think she’s protecting me from the elderly?  Not cool doggie, not cool. She seems to have issues with anyone with grey/white hair.  You know, the highly dangerous demographic.

Old person, check. Let’s see, a bike was coming. Usually she panics around bikes, skateboards, rollerblades – all wheeled recreational equipment, it seems. I have to leave her at home when I go to the skate park with my kids or she goes ballistic   So, the bike came. I kept my voice low and kept telling her how well she was doing. “Keep on walking Heidi. Good doggie, oh, such good walking. You can do it.” You know, in that sucky, condescending-sounding babying voice we all make fun of when people use it to talk to their animals. It worked!  She stayed the course. Great!  Moving along.

Heidi and I ran for 4.5 km, during much of which I was verbally petting her.  I needed a lozenge.
She did well in all manner of combinations. We ran along the bike path that follows along the river.  There were other old people, one on a bike even, and one on a motorscooter. She cruised right by them like the impersonal, mind your own business kind of pet I’d always hoped she grow to become.  Lots of people were running, some with dogs, and one young woman riding a bike whilst walking her dog.  Bravo, Heidi, bravo. Rockin’ the combos. She did great.

We were almost home.  We walked past a middle-age dude, smelling like UGLY, as all smokers do (sorry smokers, it’s true), creepily eye-balling me.  He opened his mouth, but before he even got close to a second syllable, Heidi reverted back to freaker-dog.  Freaker Dog!  It’s her alter ego, I guess. He did a quick two-step away from us, cigarette dangling from his lips. “Désolé! Désolé!”  He gasped as he walked away.  Really, it was a decent time for Heidi to fall off the impersonal, well mannered wagon.  No to the elderly, yes to creepy lurkers. Good dog.

Overall, she’s a pretty great creature.  She’s gentle and snuggly and loves us so much it’s incredible. In fact, it can only be described as pathetic. Pathetic! We could never love her as much, though we try. Even if that means having to baby talk her down the bike path.

And, because this in an illustration/design blog, I’ve gone ahead and done an illustrated recap for you below.

More about Julie Prescesky

Julie spends much of her time paying attention to what's happening around her. At Design Inkarnation, she's head designer, illustrator, writer and creative problem solver.

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