Thursday, January 12, 2012

Loose Dogs!

Nothing inspires terror in my heart faster than a dog running loose.  I believe that in a past life, I was once hunted down by dogs.  They chased me relentlessly as I tore through fields and woods, fearing for my life, very Willow-esque.  Their angry barks and snarls flew through the air, precursors to the pain I would soon feel as their long, sharp teeth tore through my skin and ripped off pieces of my flesh, eating me alive.  I just know that this is why the sight of a loose dog sends me into a panic.

 I have been lucky lately that during my runs, I rarely encounter dogs running loose.  Perhaps this is why I continue to run the same, safe routes, although my mind aches for new scenery.  It’s difficult to break down and take the risk of running down new streets knowing that there will come a time when I will encounter a dog.  He will bark, he will growl.  He may (probably) chase me.  If the stars align correctly, he will attack my leg or arm or whichever limb is flying freely most closely to his face.  I will scream.  Help will not be near.  It will be a battle between me and the dog.  Please, I beg whoever is in charge of letting these kinds of things happen, don’t let it be a pit bull. 

 Why do dogs feel the need to chase, anyway?  This I just don’t understand.  What do you want from me?  I’m not bothering you.  I’m not running on your property.  Why must you terrorize me?  I actually did run into a dog on my run not long ago.  It was a new route (see!  I tried a new route and what do I get!? A heart attack!) down a long and twisty country road.  Beautiful scenery, but about halfway through the loop, I see a creature out of the corner of my eye.  He is probably at least two hundred feet away, but he sees me too.  I know not to look at him.  I know to mind my own business and pretend he doesn’t exist.  For a few minutes I think I’m in the clear.  Just when I start to breathe easier, an eruption of barks and snarls tears through my sunny day, sending me on high alert.  My heart rate doubles and my body instantly goes into fight or flight mode.  The dog flies by behind me, barking and growling the whole time, so close he creates a breeze as he passes within inches of my calves.  I hear him gallop loudly as he quickly does a 180.  I know he’s turning around to attack this time.  I think my heart will explode, and still I do not look at him.  He’s too big to simply kick in the face as I imagine doing to any dog shorter than my knee who tries to bug me.  I think he’s a golden retriever but my eyes have been trained so decidedly on the road I can’t be sure. 

 By some miracle he no longer pursues me.  The panting subsides.  Perhaps he grew tired, and didn’t want to bother with the chase.  Perhaps he’d just eaten a large meal of kibble and shoelaces from other runners he’s taken down.  Or perhaps, and I feel that this is the most likely explanation, he was simply doing his duty by pretending he was ready to eat me and making me pee my pants.  He got his runner for the day.  Inspiring fear in runners is his God-given dog-duty.  A+, buddy, now I have to run three miles home with wet shorts.    
 On the bright side, I subconsciously sped up the rest of the run back, dropping an average of fifteen seconds per mile and giving me a PR on that 7 mile route.  However, I’m not sure if it was worth it.  I haven’t run that road since that day, and there's not a golden retriever out there (who’s safely corralled behind a sturdy fence) who doesn't get the stink eye from me.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012, the year of "What the *#%@!!"

Well, that last blog was a curse, because as you know, I haven't posted anything since then.  It's been a very strange few weeks.  2012 is starting out with a bang, and not the right kind.

I left Utah feeling very sad that we had missed our only opportunity since we were children to have a family picture taken together - I mean the whole family.  My mom and dad and all us kids and all the grandkids and all the spouses were all together...and yet we didn't have that photo taken.  That chance probably won't come again - everyone lives so far away...until...well, hopefully it comes before someone passes away.  As I've experienced both personally and through others, life will throw you a curve when you least expect it.

They say that death comes in 3's and 7's.  I am not sure if that is true, but I have heard of a lot of people passing away lately.  A girl at work lost her mother in law, another girl at work lost her uncle and grandfather, another girl at work lost her mother, a girl from my old job lost her mother, and then the most significant loss for myself was of a long-time friend and old boyfriend, Andrew.  He was someone I wanted to marry at one time and who wanted to marry me.  That makes six.  I hope that I have forgotten one somewhere, only because I don't want to hear about anymore for a while.  It's too sad...I was, and still am, so shocked about my friend.

We haven't seen each other or spoken in a very long time, but we still considered each other good, trusted friends.  We sent messages on facebook occasionally.  His last messages to me were on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  On Christmas Eve he said, "Merry Xmas Sweetie!! Hope you and Scarlett have a great holiday."  Christmas day he sent, ":)p."  I was out of town, and didn't send a message back until Dec. 27.  The accident was December 26.  He never received that message, but I have to believe that he knew I was thinking of him.

What's even worse is that he died at the hospital I work at.  Since I don't really know any of his friends very well, and am not their friends on facebook, I didn't even find out about any of it until January 5.  He died January 3 at my hospital, two floors below where I work.  Had I known, I could have seen him one last time. I could have let him know, for the last time ever, that I have always considered him to be a very special person, and that I was so glad to know him for the time that I did.  It relieves a little of the heartache to know that he will be in heaven one day when I go.

I only had one picture of him.  For some reason, when I went to get it out of my photo album, it's missing.  I am not sure if a jealous ex took it out one time or what...but now I have none, except the pictures on facebook and the memorial flyer.  Scarlett and I do still have the teddy bear that he brought to the hospital for her the day she was born.  And I will always have that smile, that laugh, living in my memory to call upon whenever I want.  He will be missed forever, as he watches over us all from a better place.

I know that these challenges are given to us to help us learn to be better people.  I prayed last night that God would help me finally (even though I only found out about him last Thursday) wrap my head around the fact that he was gone and stop obsessing about it (I've been thinking and dreaming about him non-stop, it was such a shock to me).  I woke this morning still thinking of him, but I was at peace.  I know he's gone, I know it's okay.  I know he was meant to go when he did for a reason, and that reason isn't for me to know right now.

The rest of the year will surely be better.  It's been a strange start, but...I have hope.  "Dum spiro spero," or "While I Breathe, I hope."