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Why fight it?

Today my pack and I tried trail running again. Mom didn’t have the guts to let us off leash this time, after Bodie and I tried to turn a little terrier into a pancake the last time we ran this trail. So instead Mom alternately held my leash in her hand, or let it drag through the mud. And oh boy was there mud.

There was that sloppy wet clay mud that makes that nasty squelchy noise and is more slippery than ice. There was that dark, gritty mud that swallows your paw up to the knee when you step in it. There was mud that was so muddy that it had started to turn into puddles. There was mud that had started to crack, and will have slid halfway down the mountain (taking some of the trail with it) by the next time we visit. And there was mud that was in places where it didn’t belong, dropped there by trees that had fallen from uphill and were now lying downhill. Every time we hit a particularly muddy mud spot, everyone had to slow down so that Mom (who stubbornly insisted on running with only her back legs) wouldn’t slip and fall. There were places where she had to choose between slippery footing, or jumping straight into a mud puddle. “Why fight it?” Mom said. And from then on we all just ran right through the mud puddles without slowing down. The rain has made Mom feral.

There were also downed trees blocking the path. We all had to gather in front of each log to come up with a plan: Over or under? Then we all had to climb over or duck under in exactly the same spot, or else we would get all tied up and stuck there forever, like at the 2h parking sign outside of Starbucks. The first time, Mom let us go over first, and once we got to the other side Bodie and I were so excited that we had overcome the obstacle that we sprinted away down the trail. The problem was that we were still tied to Mom, who just so happened to be balancing on one leg in the mud, still trying to clear the log. She insisted on going first after that.

When we got back to the car, Mom’s legs were covered up to the hip in mud splotches, and Bodie and I had mud all over our legs, stomachs, butts and faces. Mom has a towel in the trunk of her car, but she looked at us, sighed and said again, “Why fight it?” Then she opened the door.

When we got home, Bodie and I burst through the door and each climbed directly onto our respective couches for a nap. “You guys, get off the furniture! You’re filthy!” Mom said. “Why fight it, Mom?” I pointed out. Which I think was the wrong thing to say because Mom spent the rest of the morning chasing us around the house with the vacuum cleaner.

–Oscar the Mud Dog



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