Mom is my only live-in family, but I also have a twin sister named Bodø Maile Galaxy Moyer Salz. Bodie and I were separated at birth, but our parents found each other through the adoption agency and reintroduced us when we were grown. Bodie is the only one other than Mom and me that thinks I’m great just the way I am.
When Bodie and I go to the dog park together, she actually thinks that my barking is fun. Bodie also likes to chase me, which is all I ever wanted to begin with. Since Mom doesn’t have to do the chasing and barking, we get to stay at the dog park until everyone is “sick of this crap,” not just Mom. Being “sick of this crap” together is what being a family is all about.
Bodie can run faster and longer than I can, but I’m a better coach because I make Mom scream a whole lot less. When our pack runs together, Mom and I trot in a straight line while Bodie stretches the leash this way and that muttering, “Oh boy! Oh boy! Long-eared cat-place!”
Bodie lives to chase bunnies, which is a real shame because Mom is scared of bunnies, screaming and howling every time we run after one. Cats too. And squirrels. And bags that get caught in the wind. And stumps that look like they might be critters.
Since we’re all tied together, it comes down to a vote about whether we chase critters or no. Mom is usually outnumbered, so she has to chase too, whether she likes it or not. That’s called democracy.
Being a gentleman, I usually let a lady take the lead so I can watch her butt while I run. When it’s just me and Mom, that means that Mom is the leader. When the three of us run together, I follow Bodie close enough that her butt smacks my face as she swerves, and Mom is the caboose.
Usually Bodie slows down after she poops, but one morning she kept going full gas for miles. Mom had been whining and pulling on the leash that whole time, and it was starting to get annoying. We were all a little irritable.
“Why don’t you slow down a bit so that Mom can keep up?” I asked Bodie. “It's called patience.”
“It's cool, I'm an expert at patience,” panted Bodie. “I have to practice it all the time.”
“You're the least patient dog I know! You're always trying to get down the trail as fast as you can!”
“That feeling when you want to move along but everyone else is going slower than you is patience,” she 'splained as if I'd never been in a hurry before.
“But we run faster than this when you’re not here. I think you’re actually slowing us down by pulling her.”
“That’s ridiculous! The harder we pull, the faster she’s going to go. Watch this…”
Bodie waited until Mom was in mid-air, and then floored it with a full-speed bunny-sprint. For a few seconds we were running like the wind, if the wind howled like a terrified and angry human. But after a while, Mom finally got all of her feet on the ground and planted herself, growling fiercely and pulling on our leashes.
“See? Now we’re stopped,” I told Bodie once our collars had given our breath back. “I rest my case. I think she’s actually slowing down on purpose.”
“Don’t be a nobble-head, Oscar! I bet she’s just sniffing around for a good place to poop.”
“Why don’t you slow down and get to know Mom?”
“Because long-eared cats, Oscar! And feather-cats. And stripey stink-cats. Duh.”
“If you try to force something, life makes it so that it’s harder and harder to get. Maybe that’s why Mom never lets you get the bunnies, and we always have to stop when we see one,” I explained patiently to my understudy.
“I think that’s just because she only runs on half of her legs, so she can’t run as fast as us…” Bodie said.
“No, I’m pretty sure that it’s because you’re trying to force it. If you just stopped trying to control the run all the time, I bet Mom would let you run faster and we could chase the bunnies all the way into the ocean.”
“You’re obnoxious when you’re coaching, Oscar. Your lady may like this life coach claptrap, but I think you’re full of baloney. Obviously if you want something, you should just keep trying harder and harder until you get it. That’s why I keep pulling the leash so hard. Sure, I have trouble breathing, but you can’t win if you don’t make sacrifices. You gotta really want it!”
I'm a smart gentleman, so I know never to tell a lady she’s wrong. Instead I asked, “What are you always in such a hurry to see anyway?”
“All the things, Dummy! There are long-eared cats, and ground cats, and feather cats, and tree cats, and other dogs, and peemail, and puddles…”
“But those things will still be there if you take your time. If you hurry, you might even miss them because they will be behind you. Don't you want to look for just one thing and then actually find it?”
Bodie looked perturbed. “Are you saying I should look behind us too? Oh dog, I hadn't thought of that! I should be checking in all directions, not just front and sides! Oh no, Oscar! What if I missed something awesome because I forgot to look behind me?!”
“Relax,” I told her. “Let me show you how to make Mom run faster. You smell those people who came through here a minute or two ago? I wanna catch them.”
“Yeah! I love racing…”
“Well it’s not exactly like racing. It's not a competition. It's like a competition against yourself called goal setting. We're going to pull Mom just a little bit faster than she wants to go – Not so fast that she gets scared and makes us slow down, but just enough that you always feel her on the end of the leash, okay? If she makes noise, then that means she's going to impose a time penalty and that's bad because we might not catch them.”
“Okay. Gotcha. Just a little bit of pressure on the leash so we don't overwhelm the Howling Lady. Got it. But what about the stuff in the back and sides?”
“That's what makes it hard. You've got to ignore all the stuff that's not in front of you. Distractions are bad for goals. That's called focus.”
“Oscar! Look! I can see them. They stopped to look at something!”
“See? They don't have focus, and now we're going to pass them.”
“Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy! We're going to win this run! Hashtug goals! Hashtug focus!”
“Um... I don't think you're using those right…”
“You're a social media dog and you don't know about hashtugs?”
“Never mind. Focus,” I told her.
Slowly but surely we caught up to the people and passed them. "What pretty dogs!" they told Mom when we streaked by. And then we relaxed and started running at Mom pace, looking around for the first time all morning.
“What?! Now you guys slow down?!” said Mom. "It's not a race!"
'No, it's training, suckah, and we just won!' I thought.
“Race?! Did somebody say ‘race’?” Bodie said, starting to speed up.
“Hashtag focus, Bodie!” I reminded her. “Go easy!”
“Aren’t we supposed to be coaches?” Bodie asked, exasperated. “I thought we settled this, she needs to run fast to learn how to be fast. It’s because she’s so slow that we never catch the long-eared cats.”
“Yeah, but this year she doesn’t want to race, so now we’re life coaches instead. We're supposed to watch her runs and say insightful things about how it’s a metaphor for her bad habits.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever...” A smell darted under a bush and pulled Bodie nose-first off her thought. “OMG! DID YOU SMELL THAT?!”
Then we had to chase a bunny in all the directions because we weren’t sure what direction the real bunny was in. Mom squawked and howled behind us until she managed to call off the hunt by sticking her feet to the ground and squatting like a surfer to make herself an anchor.
So I guess we’ll never know if you can get the bunny if you stop trying to control things, because Bodie will never stop trying. Some dogs just aren’t ready to change.