Monday, December 28, 2015

Horses, goats, and hounds...oh my!

Visiting with goats and chatting with dogs, these experiences are par for the course on a good long run.  The day after Christmas I did my typical trail run just as the sun was coming up, we were heading out to the inlaws for second Christmas, so I needed to have my run squared away nice and early to have plenty of time to get cleaned up for the party and whip up a salad to share with the masses.  I have been dressing creatively for early morning runs, with temps in the 30s just before dawn, this thin blooded California girl has needed to bundle up to survive the chill. 

Wearing legwarmers (and armwarmers) my brother gave me a few Christmases ago. When he gave them to me, I bet he didn’t imagine me wearing them in public while running all over town!

At my favorite water fountain I spied a sneaky goat stealing hay from the horse’s feed bag.  The horse disapproved with low snuffling sounds, which deterred the goat for a few seconds, then the pilfering of  his breakfast would resume.  Other barnyard antics included these two fluffy kids head butting one another half heartedly, getting distracted and tired, then ending up resting their heads on one another, turning their sparring into a morning cuddle. 

As I left the trail and approached the freeway overpass, a white curly dog stood alone on the sidewalk watering a nearby patch of weeds.  I didn’t like the idea of this little friend being so close to the freeway traffic, so as I jogged up I called him over to check his collar.  Retirement home to right, new housing development to the left, and no other humans out on the sidewalk didn’t bode well for his being in the right place.  This cock-a-poo like mutt hopped up on the low wall between the sidewalk and the retirement home, seemingly so I could read his tag with greater ease.  Thanks, pup!  The address matched that of the retirement home and just when I was thinking how appropriate that a retirement community should have a communal dog for the residents to love or allow them to bring their longtime companion when with them when they move in, a friendly, “WooooWhoooo,” was called out from the covered patio.  I looked across the lawn to find a woman wrapped in an afghan swaying contentedly in her rocking chair giving me a reassuring wave.  “Is he with you?” I shouted across the lawn.  “Yes, thank you!” came the reply.  As if on cue, my snowy fluffy friend glanced back at me as if to request I release my grip on his collar then bounded off across the grass in the direction of the rocking granny.  Luckily that little doggie didn’t need my help at all, but how lovely to discover that my assumption that a retirement home wouldn’t allow dogs was dead wrong.  At least there is one facility in Claremont where canine companions are welcome. 

This reminded me of an episode of the Twilight Zone where a man and his dog somehow die during a hunting trip and an angel meets him on the road and invites him to follow him on the path to heaven.  The angel explains that the dog is not allowed so the man refuses to follow and takes a different path.  Eventually he arrives at the gates to heaven and he and his dog are welcomed.  When the man asks the true angel about the other man he met on the path, we are led to believe that the first invitation would have led him to hell, because an afterlife without dogs would be equal to damnation.  Similarly I imagine a retirement without our furry friends would be a wicked sentence to give to seniors.  This sounds like a campaign worth starting if there isn’t one already begun.  I would be interested to know if senior centers or retirement homes.

Random beauty on the trail.

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