I like to think of myself as someone who is in moderately good shape. I might be pushing a certain age (which I’m NOT going to disclose!), but I make it a point to exercise regularly and eat healthy foods (well…except for my occasional dose of cheese-popcorn at the movies and my secret stash of dark chocolate). Point being; I can probably out-swim and out-bike quite a few of my peers and possibly even a few of those ‘Generation-Z’ kids as well!
I’ll admit that my running isn’t up to par but my heart is in the right place. So, it was a big dent in my ego when this morning I got out-run…by my three-legged dog!
A few years ago, we took in Princess, a stray that had to have her hind leg amputated after being run over by a car. Princess has happily adjusted to her new life and hops around on her remaining legs without a care in the world and apparently, as I learned the hard way this morning, this includes not caring about the size of my ego!
I try to go out for a 5-mile run in the morning about twice a week but had never taken Princess along since I figured the distance would be too much for her. To my surprise, she managed to wriggle out of the yard today and stealthily followed me. I didn’t realize she was behind me until I reached the end of the street and once I saw her, I decided to let her tag along; I would simply make my loop shorter to accommodate her. She stayed right on my heels and after a 5-minute warmup I increased my pace a notch…and so did Princess. I could hear her panting a bit and was considering slowing back down so she could keep up with me, when she suddenly increased her pace. I was now the one lagging behind but I let her go on ahead thinking she would soon tire herself out and start walking. It never happened. She just kept on going at a nice and steady pace while I was now the one panting and heaving trying to keep up with her!
Occasionally, God bless her soul, she would turn her head without even missing her stride and look back to see if I was still there (or maybe to double check that I hadn’t passed out on the road), then she would face back front and simply keep going, daring me to close the ever-growing gap.
At a certain point, she stopped and I thought; “Finally, she’s tired. We’ll just walk the rest of the way home and I can still save face telling everyone how Princess did such a good job but was simply too tired to run the entire distance!” That’s when I realized that the only reason she had stopped was…yes…you guessed it…to poop! After a beautifully choreographed ‘squat’ she just merrily sped up again leaving me in her dust…and poop! To add insult to injury she suddenly veered left onto an empty lot, ran the entire perimeter of the lot and doubled back to my side…she had actually run an extra loop to give me time to catch up to her! Thank heavens we only had half a mile more to go; I was dying while she was practically whistling along!
Once in our street and with just a few yards to go, my instinct took over. This was my last chance…I made a mad sprint for the front yard; there was simply no way a three-legged dog was going to get the best of me…yeah, right. Princess must have had her own set of instincts, probably having something to do with the prospect of getting some chow, because as soon as she sensed me picking up my pace, she flew towards the house. I never had a chance. So, that’s that…My ego has been trampled by a three-legged dog!
I still love you Princess, but there will be no extra doggy treats for you today!