I haven’t really been running lately. Not truly running.
More like brisk walking.  Running really makes me happy, and I know my
dogs do better after a longish run.  Zeke and Scout totally Zeke-out
during the first 2 miles or so; running around and around sagebrush, over rocks
and logs and each other, through creek beds at top speed, reverse
direction.  Scout lays in wait ahead on
the trail and pounces on Zeke as he rushes past.

 Fun for all, for the
first 20 minutes or so.

At some point on every run, especially on a new trail, or
new route on an old trail, Scout and Zeke seem CERTAIN that I have no
idea where I’m going or how we’re going to get back.   We’re
lost.  While Scout is convinced that we are loping idiotically into our
doom, Zeke takes a more positive stance; he indulges me hoping that when it
gets dark, and cold, and dinner time, we’ll eat Scout. 
Scout runs at my side, looking up at me, willing me to admit that we’re going
to die cold and alone and without a couch to hide under.  Zeke runs ahead frequently stopping to look
at me with his ‘This might be a good place to turn around or eat the little
weird dog’ expression.

I run my dogs in shifts now. It’s easier. There really is no
way to monitor 5 dogs with any degree of confidence that one or more won’t take
off after a deer or coyote, or livestock; or that I won’t accidentally leave
one in the car… or in the foothills.  Especially tempting with the
Butter Queen Annie.  Re-introduce the hunting dog mix into the wild. 
Rub some bacon grease on her tartan sweater, roll her in some crumbs…. 
She could be a new encrusted species.  Rare and breaded status.

Anyway, no. Zeke and Scout are my running dogs.  Hank, Jasper and Annie
constitute the Old Lady Toddle.  I prefer to run with Zeke and Scout first
and toddle afterward with the Old Ladies. The old ladies have no worries.  Hank and Jasper trot along, peeing and
sniffing until they want to turn around, about 20 slow minutes into our
leisurely stroll.  Annie runs wide loping
circles around our general area the whole time she’s offleash, the middle third
of the walk.  She’s not really an old
lady. She has her own category.  It’s
easier to keep an eye on Annie, and train her while walking.  Plus, Scout hates her.  Annie is a humpstress. 

Last night I decided to run for 30 – 45 minutes on a trail
that drops down into a little valley and meanders along a stream and climbs steeply back up along a ridge, back down a hill to the car.  I’ve
been on this trail a few times. I like it because, like most of my trail
choices, no one else uses it much.  I prefer to not play this Foothills
Yuppie Trail Use Etiquette game; leash walk, greet strangers with apologies,
“She won’t bite…anything above the knee usually…”  and
“Can my nice dog please sniff your …let’s be frank uglier dog’s butt?
What? No!?  Too late…That little furry gland should be
honored!” 
Although it is funny to watch people who accessorize everything in their lives,
wear all the Right Gear, (new this season!), drive a Lexus SUV to the trailhead
and hike with titanium ski poles….have to pick up their dog’s excrement, with
their hands, in a little bag, and carry it for 1/4 mile.  It’s a shameful
testament to my character that I really get a kick out of that.  Turns out, I’m a bitch.

So, Last night I did get
lost. I ended up taking a wrong drainage and having 2 steep hills to climb, being followed by a coyote, and
getting back to the car just barely able to still see the trail.  We did not eat Scout, BUT the old ladies did
not get their walk and the disappointment all around was palpable.  Almost. 
Annie greeted me at home with a dead squirrel.  

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