Our family has a new dog. Zamp a great dog, but he's young (we're guessing about a year), strong, and full of energy. He's also a breed made to run. Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred to hunt lions, and our family likes this breed because we fancy ourselves runners, and frankly we like the company when putting in the miles.
Within a week of adopting Zamp, my athletically-gifted husband tore his ACL. This is very bad news on several fronts, including the fact that when it comes to running, he is on the DL. Which leaves the task of running the dog up to me.
I quickly realized that Zamp is too strong, and too fast, for me to run with him like a normal, civilized dog owner. Putting in the miles on the canal or Loop with him is totally out of the question. He's so strong and fast that I can't control him and frankly, I'm tired of careening down the street behind a galloping dog while shouting various commands hoping one of them will make him stop. It doesn't work and these old joints can't take it.
So, what's a girl to do? Luckily, this dog loves to trail run, and so we spend a significant amount of time in the Foothills trail system right outside our door. Wouldn't this be a nice end to this story?
Except it's not that easy. Because this dog is so strong, so fast, and so excited to be out of the trail, and as it turns out, I can't control him there either. And so, I'm forced to let him off his leash. And, by some small miracle, he tends to stay right with me. For the most part.
But, I learned during one particularly difficult run that if there is anyone else anywhere on the trail at the same time as us, Zamp is a goner. He's off faster than I even realize to make a new friend, assert his dominance, or shop for a new family. In fact, on this one particularly difficult morning, we came upon a mountain biker, surprising all three of us, and leash-free Zamp chased this poor guy for a quarter mile.
Running in town is out of the question. And now, running on trails when other trail users are around is out of the question. And not running this dog is out of the question because he becomes very destructive. I curse my husband's torn ACL.
So, the solution, at least so far, is to hit the trail before anyone else has even considered it. Make first tracks. Watch the sun rise from a dirt path. Pray that no one decides to do the same.
So these days, my alarm sounds at 4:20 and we're at the trailhead by 4:35. Any later and we meet other trail users on our way out. Any earlier and I can't get out of bed.
This blog post is really a desperate plea more than anything. If you love Sage Hills as much as I do, could you please just wait to get started until 5:45? We'll be out by then, my dog will be tired for a few blissful moments, and I'll be eternally grateful.