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Scary Things

I thought that I would get to run Mom’s marathong with her. I was really looking forward to sharing the results of all my hard work with so many Friends, and especially to having lots of people cheer for me and tell me what a good job I was doing. But it turns out that dog coaches aren’t invited to marathongs. I think that’s bogus.

But anyway, somebody was doing it wrong because when Mom came home from her 4 days at what she’s been calling “Didney Refugee Camp” she was SICK. I think it’s real rude to make someone wake up before 3am to sit out in the cold and wait in line for food and water all day, and then return them to their coach in a much worse condition than when they left. Now Mom is ruined. We haven’t been able to go on ANY runs since she got home, and with her coughs she’s barking more than me. Lame.

But Mom and I count our walks toward our miles, so I think it’s okay for me to tell you about how on our walk this evening I got to meet a neighbor! We had just left the front gate when I saw the silhouette of a dog and his man. “Hey! Who are you? What are you doing in my driveway?” I barked. He just looked at me like, “Dude, what are you talking about? This is my driveway.” “No it’s not! It’s my driveway.”

I have to be real careful when we see some suspicious characters because Mom’s scared of the Friends that I bark at. She starts pulling on the leash and asking me if we can get the heck out of there. So I usually have to yell at the suspicious characters to keep their distance while we beat it. But this time I guess Mom wasn’t too scared because she let me come up and say hi to the neighbor. Once I had my nose in his butt, I recognized that he did smell familiar. “Sorry, dude,” I said. “I guess you do live around here. The barking won’t happen again… until maybe tomorrow.” Mom also relaxed and talked to the man. Then we went on our walk.

It really made me think… Maybe Mom isn’t actually scared of all the suspicious characters that I bark at after all.

What if the reason that Mom is acting so scared is because it’s the BARKING that she doesn’t like?

That just blew my mind… I thought that the barking made her feel safe and protected.

What if there are other things out there that Mom and I found on a day when Mom was in a bad mood, and now I’m scared of them forever? Are cups falling on the floor really a Scary Thing? What if I met something on a bad day, and overreacted and scared Mom… and then she pulled on the leash and asked me to get the heck out of there… and now I’m scared of that thing forever just because I scared Mom one time? I think Mom definitely gets scared before her runs because one time she was cold, or it rained, or a hill was steep,  and she got uncomfortable; or one day she ran too fast and puked in someone’s yard. But that doesn’t mean that she’s going to be uncomfortable on every cold/rainy day, every hill, or that she’s going to have to poop in a dark spot under a tree next to the middle school track (theoretically) every time she runs fast. So why does she have to sit there sometimes telling me how much she doesn’t want to run, when usually we wind up having fun?

I’ll have to tell Mom about this. I bet if she can chill out then she would see that most of her stress is just stuff that she’s imagining. And then she can stop pulling on my leash and stressing ME out so much. I bet then we can get through life with a lot less barking.

-Oscar the Pooch



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