For our run tonight, Mom took me to a spot I'd never been to. I could smell the swamp mud as soon as we got out of the car and I got so excited that Mom had to use her stern voice with me, "out of the road, now! " Of course I know I can't step on the black hard ground without a leash, but sometimes I forget. Mom took me by the collar, which I find humiliating, and escorted me to the trail head. I was off in a flash as soon as she let go. Glorious dirt, mud, rocks, and roots! Hooray!
Mom followed. She tries to keep up, but she only has two legs. Plus she isn't exactly a puppy anymore. That's Okay. When I get too far ahead I stop and fool around until she catches up. I roll in stuff, chew on sticks, or practice lifting my leg. This leg lifting thing is new for me. I've been watching my neighbor, Apollo do it and decided to try it myself. Apollo can lift his leg straight out to the side and squirt urine on objects 3 feet off the ground. He's amazing. I can only get my leg up in the air for a few seconds, then I loose my balance and end up squatting. Also, sometimes when I lift my leg nothing comes out. So until I get this leg lifting thing down, I only do it out in the woods where Apollo and the other neighbors can't see. Tonight I lifted my leg at least 30 times and got it right about three times.
The trail we took tonight was awesome. It was long and straight and wider than what we usually run on. Dad calls it "double track" and he says it like it's a bad word. But I like it, this stuff is built for sprinting! Even Mom can get up a little speed on this sort of trail. After a while, we hit a stretch of mud holes. This was the stuff I was smelling when we got out of the car. Mom tried to keep her colorful foot coverings out of the mud but wasn't successful. I just plowed right through. A few times I stopped right in the middle of deep smelly mud and laid down. I did this just to get a rise out of Mom.
After about an hour of steady running, we came to a river. It wasn't wide and shallow and fast like the river we usually run beside. This was narrow and deep and slow. The banks leading down to the water's edge were steep. This river's bottom was sandy instead of the rocky kind of bottom I'm used to. I went barreling down the steep bank and ended up in the river with a big splash. I found that I couldn't touch the bottom so I started paddling around. I paddled up the river and then down the river. I paddled across. I paddled around under the bridge. I got out and climbed the steep bank, then ran back down and splashed into the river again. I started doing this over and over again, up, down, splash, up, down, splash... I got out of the water and picked up a big stick and started running in circles. Then I carried the big stick into the river and tried swimming with it in my mouth. I got out and rolled in some moose turds. I tasted one, but it wasn't fresh so I spit it out. I lifted my leg and peed on my own foot. I shook the water and mud off my coat onto Mom and I was ready to go.
The run back seemed tougher. Mom was ahead of me instead of behind. She had to wait for me . I walked up the big hill. I squatted instead of lifting leg when I felt like peeing. I jogged past a perfectly good pile of deer poop without even giving it a sniff. I edged past Mom and tried to slow her down by blocking her way. But on that Damned double track, she had plenty of room to go around me. Mom joked, "you simply must learn to pace yourself better!" I fell asleep in the car on the way home and dreamed about running and swimming. I can hardly wait for our next run!