Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Adventures In Recklessness

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.


  1. our maddie loves to run and i used to let her pull me on my bike once in harness tho--terrible owner. she still loves to run but at 10+ is getting a little rickety. it's actually a serious point of contention between my husband and myself. let her run and be happy or keep her on the leash and preserve her joints? story well delivered as usual.

  2. I love your storytelling. I am glad you include it among the things you write about. Your blog has become one of my favorite reads no matter what the topic of your posts may be. Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing!

  3. Heidi,

    Our Ariel turns 10 in June. Most of the time she acts half her age. But every once in a while we catch a hint of her aging. We take it real easy on her and watch her closely. So far, her love of running in the woods makes it easier for her to stay young.


    Thanks for the kind words. I just got back from Wooster (Functional Ceramics Workshop -- Granatelli, Vangilder, Choo) at midnight last night. I'm dying to unravel the weekend into words. I've processed and uploaded some images, and hopefully by tomorrow I'll be able to put down some thoughts.