Mr. I-Didn’t-Overthink-This-I-Just-Did-It here. Yes, I know the name is cumbersome. Just call me John.
Anyway, when my body was still young and agile enough to take total abuse, and (as fate would have it) I still had the same relatively tiny, mostly useless brain, I used to hook up my first malamute – the legendary "Bear" – with a harness that was actually (don’t tell Bear) an adjustable nylon mesh horse bridle. To this "harness" I hooked a six foot leather leash.
Yes, I know this is high tech. And if you’re like me, you'd probably like me to go over the details one more time -- your having probably missed a nuance or two.
One dog? Check
One bridle/harness? Check
One six foot dog leash? Check
One cheap Schwinn bicycle? Check
One reckless twenty-something guy? Check
I simply HELD the leash in my hand, and Bear would regularly pull me for anywhere from 5-10 miles.
Bear loved to run. I've never owned another dog with Bear's heart for running. We ran in the morning – usually 6-8 miles together. We'd do the bike thing in the afternoon. Bear loved running so much that if I wasn't ready when he was, he'd nudge open the back porch door, grab and pull his leash off the wall hook and drag it to me wherever I may have been. I can't tell you the number of times I'd hear the "dra-a-a-a-g *click* dra-a-a-a-g *click* dra-a-a-a-g *click*" as Bear would, with the handle-end of the leash between his teeth and metal clasp dragging, come bounding down the basement stairs to come and get me out of the shop (back in those days I had my pottery in the basement). I can still hear the sound of him coming to get me for a run. God, I loved that dog.
Reckless as the activity was, we really only had one bad accident. Starting up was the diciest part of the whole thing. Bear was at full potential energy and the wobbling bike was the least under control in the first 50-100 yards. We had just reached full speed – probably 30-40 yards into the run – and my front tire hit a big rock. I flew over the handlebars – one end of which caught me in the groin and ripped a big hole in my jeans – maybe a convenient hole, were I to not already have had a zipper in pretty much the same pant-u-lar location. I was still stunned, laying there on my back mentally assessing whether I had actually permanently damaged any body parts when Bear came back to where I was laying. He stood over me looking down, tongue lolling, and with his usual expectant look saying…"so, like, are we going to finish running, or are you just going to lay there?"
Sensitive dog, that Bear.