…by a dog, that is.
You’ve seen all the pins on Pinterest that note down one reason for running is because you’re being chased, right? Every time I see that quote, I just guffaw and brush it off. Like that happens to people in real life.
Well, I’ve learned my lesson in the past fortnight. I’ve been chased and scared out of my wits recently. Let me set the plot for you.
The breeze feels like a refreshing towel on her neck as she takes in the cool, brisk evening where the auburn leaves match the setting sky so perfectly that you wish you could bottle that scenery as a perfume. The silhouette of a lone runner breaks the clean line of the horizon. She stoops to tighten the laces on her running shoes. Standing, her face glows under the limelight of the running app on her smartphone. She presses, START, and off she goes, running into the dusk, her playlist keeping rhythm with the thuds of her feet. Tonight is going to be a good run, she repeats to herself; hoping that positive mantra will prove to be true. And indeed, it is, thanks to the overall flatness of the path she chose, with the exception of that one hill at minute five. As she makes the U-turn to head back home, she spies two figures approaching; one tall, one short. Just ignore them, she thinks, trying to reason with her irrational fear of any being not human. That works, until the moment the figures pass by her, when, much to her dismay, but not surprise, the dog barks, strains on his leash and menacingly jumps toward the runner. Involuntarily, she lets out a yelp, which propels her to veer parabolically in her route at a speed of, at her estimation, a 100 miles per hour. She peers out the corner of her eye and sees the dog still struggling at his leash, which justifies her previous reaction to their encounter. Crisis avoided, she burns the trail for the fastest route home.
And that’s just how it went down. I admit I have a problem with dogs. I just can’t help flinching when owners pass me with their best friends on a leash; no matter what size they are. And you know what? I refuse to admit that I’m overreacting. In fact, I think the owners are under reacting; at least in the situations that I’ve been in. I mean, if you reassure me that they mean no harm to me, then why are they snarling and tugging at their leash? I just cannot understand this attribute of “playfulness.” I’m sorry, but I have no wish to be jumped on by a dog, even if that’s his way of greeting me. I would just like to live in a world where they would just ignore me like I try to do with them. I mean, I even cross the street to avoid close contact, and you are still barking and biting at the leash? That’s enough to get me on anxiety meds.
As I continue running, I do hope to avoid situations like this; but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon. For now, I can only trust in their owners’ strength and character to control their best friends, while leaving me the peace of mind to focus on training instead of worrying whether I’m being chased or not.
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