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This morning Mom woke up early like she always does, but today was different because we were sleeping in a car-house. Since it was kind of cold in the car-house, Mom wanted to turn on the car part so that the heater could make the house part cozy, but instead of making car noises the car-house just made clicking noises.

This apparently meant that we were marooned and there would be no morning run.

Since we lived here now, we decided to explore our new home. Just like the old explorers in pirate times we were shipwrecked on a beach in a little cove with big rocks on both sides. Only, instead of looking for buried treasure, we were looking for cell phone bars. We patrolled all around our beach and looked behind all the rocks, but we didn’t find a our cell treasure behind any of them. We did find a stick that I thought was pretty great, but Mom said it wasn’t the same thing.

Finally a nice man came to help us. I barked at him, but he wasn’t scared so I knew he was a friend and I let him fix our car-house. When we finally got out of there it was late and Mom promised we would just find a trail along the way. But we drove for hours and hours through the mountains and didn’t do any running. “Mom, why don’t you stop?!?!”

“Because apparently there are no trailheads in this whole darned forest! Everything says not to stop.” Now that we’re living in a car-house we need to be careful of rules. Just like some people don’t like dogs and so don’t let me in their buildings and on their trails, other people don’t like people who don’t have houses. So we need to be respectful.

Finally, after we had gone so far that I was sure we were going to fall off the edge of the world, we came to a city. That’s where Mom saw a sign for a waterfront trail. When we pulled off the highway there was a second sign. If we turned left then we could run along the waterfront, if we turned right we could run in the forest. “Forest, please!” I said.

The forest was way far away behind the city, on a road that didn’t like car-houses and kept kicking us. When we got out of the car-house a sign said, “Dogs must be on leash or under voice control.” “What’s voice control?” I asked Mom. “Is that like when I want to bark, but I just growl instead?” “No, it means that you have to come to me when I call you, no matter what.” “Okay,” I said. “Promise.” Now that I’m 4, I can handle more responsibility*, which is another word for being off leash. When I wear responsibility instead of a leash I can stop and smell something interesting or drink from a puddle, or run on the bushes instead of the trail. Mom doesn’t need to wait for me and can keep moving in straight lines as fast as she can and miss all the good stuff, just like she likes to do. If she gets ahead, responsibility tells me that I’ve gotten too far away and pulls me back into range.

“Look! I have responsibility!” I beamed at a couple of ladies that were walking in the other direction, and then I did a little jig. “That is one happy dog,” the lady said to Mom. Responsibility also gets you attention! As my friend Gerda says, “Life is good!”

Mom and I don’t need to have voice control out loud, because we have doggy telepathy. I can tell what Mom is doing without even looking at her just by listening to her steps and her breathing. I can tell by the way her foot hits the ground when she is about to walk, when she’s about to run, and when she’s speeding up or slowing down. If I hear a walking step, then I stop and wait for her to come back into range before spinning around and hauling ass again. I can also tell when she’s out of shape because her feet stay on the ground longer and I can hear her breathing from far away. (Right now Mom’s feet hit the ground like an elephant and I can hear her breathing from Mars.) I’ve said before that

a leash works like love. Without the leash, doggy telepathy sometimes makes it feel like Mom and I are like two parts of the same runner.

“Mom, do you ever think that we’re the same person?” I asked. Mom didn’t answer, but I think I know the answer…

…it’s NO, duh! People can’t see the things that dogs see. That’s impossible!


-Oscar the Pooch


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