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Running Companion

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This is Princess.

Princess is not my dog.

I was out for a run on Friday, and this sweet girl started to follow me.  I figured she’d trot along with me for a while, and then turn around and return home.

So such luck.  Princess followed me four miles — sometimes behind, sometimes running ahead, sometimes wandering off into a yard or field, sometimes making me afraid she was going to get hit by a car — until I got home.

By the time I was a mile from the house, I knew that I was going to have to put Princess in the car and take her back to where she started following me.

Getting her up onto the porch was the first difficulty.  She had been friendly enough to jump up on me when she first saw me, four miles ago, but she was hesitant to come up the steps into the enclosed porch.  The fact that Gryffon and Gracie were inside the house barking probably didn’t help.  But I needed to get her into an enclosed space so she wouldn’t run off while I grabbed a leash and my car key from the house.

I finally coaxed her in the door and secured it behind her.  I zipped into the house, grabbed the things I needed, and went back out to her.  I slipped a leash over her neck, and I’m pretty sure she’s never been on a leash before.  She acted just a little bit weirded out, and she certainly didn’t know not to strangle herself by pulling.

I half-walked, half-dragged her into the garage and opened the back door of the car, and that’s when I realized she’s also probably never been in a car before.  Or at least, not very often.  She wouldn’t jump in, so I had to lift her in, and she wasn’t too happy about it.  I shut her in, ran around to the driver’s seat and hopped in myself, begging her, “Please don’t pee in my car.  Please.”

I opened the windows for her, hoping she’d enjoy sticking her head out the window, but she preferred trying to climb into the front seat with me.  I was glad I had only about a mile to drive.

I pulled into the driveway of the house where Princess had attached herself to me.  I knocked and a woman came to the door.  “Is she yours?”  I asked.

“Next door,” she said.  “He used to keep her chained up, but lately she’s been loose.”  The woman didn’t seem too happy about it.

I got permission to leave my car there while I took the dog next door.  I knocked, and heard some scuffling and a dog yapping inside.  Then I heard a child say, “Princess is back!”  I turned and saw a little boy peering out the window.

Another little boy, wrapped in a blanket, answered the door.  “Is she yours?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.  “Hold on, I gotta get some clothes on so I can put her in the back yard.”

The door shut, and Princess and I waited.

Then a woman opened the door again.  She looked frazzled, and while she thanked me, she seemed none too pleased that the dog had returned.

I almost wanted to say, “You know, I can just keep her.”

But I didn’t.  I removed the leash and walked away.

Bye, Princess.  It was nice running with you.

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About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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