This hill is really steep. Not as steep as some of the things that we climbed on my birthday adventure, but too steep for Mom to run the whole time. For the first time in a long time I put my running coach collar back on. “Tell you what,” I told Mom. “When you’re tired and want to walk, I want you to count down from 50 before you stop running. If it’s really steep, count down from 30. If you’re walking too much, I’ll impose a penalty by stopping to sniff cow poo, and because it’s too steep for you to pull me off of it, you’ll be pinned to the spot until I’m done.”
“Deal,” Mom didn’t say. Instead she whined and pulled on the leash like Bodie watching a squirrel every time I pinned her down for her laziness penalty.
“Even when we run on a trail at 5:30am on a Thursday we can’t get away from crowds…” Mom grumbled.
“Oh stop being such a grouch,” I said. “This is lovely. It’s sunrise, it’s not too cold, and these people are singing flamenco!” (I know about flamenco from when Mom didn’t listen to audiobooks for 6 weeks.)
“Um, I think they’re just speaking Cantonese, Oscar.”
“Are you sure it’s not flamenco? Okay,” I said, taking off my running coach collar and putting on the one I use for life coaching. “I have another challenge for you.”
“Ooh! I love challenges! They make it fun for me to work on the problem behaviors that I find difficult!” Mom didn’t say.
“You have to smile and greet every person that we meet on the way down the hill. You don’t have to sniff their butt or anything, just open yourself up to eye contact and wish them a good morning.” So she did. She even had to greet the people that she thought were using our trail wrong. Some people smiled and waved back, others kept their eyes on the ground, and we even stopped to have a conversation with two nice ladies who cheered for us. I did the same challenge with all the cows, with even more enthusiasm but less friendliness in return.
-Oscar the Cow-dog