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Today I did my first try-atha-long! I’d never done a try-atha-long before, and Mom explained to me that it’s when you do 3 things all in a row; except that we were doing a “relay” which means that 3 human people each did a different thing. I thought maybe one of the things would be running because Mom was wearing her running clothes, but a try-atha-long isn’t what I expected at all.

The first event involves walking around a lot in a big crowd of really stressed out people. All these people have lots of luggage, and big ol’ bikes that they have to push around, and they have to go from one table to another carrying all their stuff, wait in lots of lines, and change their clothes a bunch of times; the whole time looking more and more worried. The object of this leg of the try-atha-long is to make as many people as possible stop stressing. I was stressed out too, but pretty soon I figured out that every time someone leaned over I could at least get in a face lick and probably score a scratch behind the ears, which made me less stressed. The really good ones gave me a butt scratch. The disappointing ones only let me lick their legs once or twice before Mom pulled me away. I think I won that stage.

The second stage of the try-atha-long was the most boring. It involved some more walking around in a group, and lots and lots of waiting. First we went down to the beach. Because this crowd was not a fun-loving bunch, instead of playing on the beach they all stood around in funny-smelling suits and continued to look worried. Then our teammate in the funny-smelling suit disappeared and Mom, our other teammate and I went back to wait some more by all the luggage. Then the stinky guy came back, the other guy left, and our team went up to road a bit to watch the stressed out people yell at each other on bikes – and wait some more. At first I thought this part would be cool because we passed a lot of people eating bacon. But no matter how close I put my nose to their bacon, Mom wouldn’t let me stop, so I didn’t get any. We were in a race after all, and a race means that you don’t get to stop and eat bacon. I don’t think I care for races. So eventually I lay down on the ground and sighed pointedly so that Mom would know how lame this part was.

I did not like the last leg of the try-atha-long AT ALL. It involved Mom handing over my leash to the strange man and her leaving me alone with him. When Mom walked away I watched the spot where I had last seen her forever and ever, but she didn’t come back. At one point I thought that I saw her, and barked really loud, but The Man just knelt down and pet me for awhile, which I took to mean that I had to live with him now. Pretty soon the other man showed up, and we hung out and waited for about 6 or 7 more years. Every time we went somewhere new, I had to pull The Man, in case Mom was wherever we were going waiting for us. But the Man weighs a lot more than Mom and it was hard to pull him.

Finally, when I had just about decided that she was gone for good and I was going to have to adopt a new family, I saw Mom in the crowd. She was looking significantly sweatier than the last time I’d seen her, and a little green around the gills, but definitely alive. I barked and pulled The Man through the crowd of still-stressed-out people to get at her. “We finished! We did it!” I screamed, hopping around and crashing into people like a bowling ball. “Did you know there’s bacon somewhere around here? Let’s go find some!”

Oscar the try-atha-dog



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