‘You’re so cruel to that poor dog!’

Harvey, our Border Terrier, and I went for our pre-lunch run today.

We sped down the 400-stretch of road from the croft gate to the first bend. It always takes the dog that far to moderate his pace from “manic sprint” to “fast run”.

The next 200 metres to the forestry field saw us settle into fast run. We jumped the mud, jogged through the approach to the field gate and let ourselves into the field.

Another 250 metres of easy trail running on the flat brought us to the first challenge: a 320m sprint up a 12 per cent grade. As usual, Harvey reached the top first, stopped, looked around as if to say “what’s holding you up?” and went for a sniff around while he waited for me.

Once over the crest, we jogged down the 100 metre slope to the rear field gate and let ourselves out onto the trail extending to the south-east. It’s a slow 120m jog here thanks to the long grass and concealed rabbit holes.

We were now at the bottom of the 300m ascent of Dunnideer: a 16 per cent grade overall although some parts of the trail are more like 20 per cent.

As always, Harvey shot ahead to investigate the rabbit holes hidden beneath the scrub while I paused to take a few deep breaths and focus myself.

And ran. Ran hard. Ran like the Cù Sìth was on my tail.

At the top, Harvey was sitting, panting lightly, head tilted quizzically to one side. He looked as if he’d waited for days.

Turned and ran down the hill. Actually, harder than running up it.

Jogged back along the rabbit track, into the forest field and along the 110m of back fence.

Picked the pace up for the short rise and long fall of the 400m stretch back to the road. I was sweating hard now, my breath was forced and my legs were starting to feel the effects of the run.

I put Harvey back on the lead and started the road run back to the house, pushing hard again.

The first 250m is reasonably flat. Not bad. We hit the final stretch, a 130m long rise back to the croft. Tough.

I was pushing harder still, with Harvey happily trotting alongside, when a small hatchback car eased alongside me.

Two women of the genus “Ponderus stupendia” shouted at me through the open passenger side window.

“What are you doing to that poor dog?”

That’s awful!”

“You’re so cruel to that poor little dog.”

“Making him run like that. Oh the poor thing.”

As they ranted, I noticed they, too, had a dog. A Jack Russell. He was lying on the rear parcel shelf, but looked more like a crashed blimp in a fur suit than a terrier.

The ranting and raving continued. I was heartless and should be reported for cruelty.

I kept running, Harvey kept running. I was tempted to let rip, but, to be frank my instinctive response was rude and I needed my breath.

Harvey and I peeled off to the left, they accelerated off to the right. At the back door of the house, I leaned into the wall to do my stretches and recover.

There was a growl from behind me, then I felt a bat from a paw. Harvey had his “rat rope” and wanted to play “kill the rope”. At speed.

Who does nobody comment about how cruel the dog is to poor old Two-Legs?

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13 Responses to “‘You’re so cruel to that poor dog!’”

  1. Aahh; Two-Legs, you poor chap! Do I feel sad and sorry for your weary feet and mind, when you run with that delightful little bundle of furry mischief? No, I just chuckle and enjoy the comments flung by the idle passers by. Go Harvey, go!

  2. “It’s a slow 120m jog here thanks to the long grass and concealed rabbit holes.”
    Catch a foot in one of those and you’ll really be buggered. Wait until your wrist is fully healed please.

    • I was in more danger shutting the chickens up this evening than I was dodging rabbit hole. It’s extremely wet and slick. I was walking behind the biggest chicken house and, whoosh, my feet went from under me. I landed on my bum in a mess of mud, slime and chicken poop. Lovely.

      As for my wrist, it continues to ache but I now have close to the same sort of strength I had before the accident. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but I’m just about crofting fit again.

  3. Those people… I guess one should gather the patience to explain to them how various animals function. Dogs run, sheep have coats to protect them to all but the foulest weather, pigs don’t mind mud and chickens are really omnivores etc. But, I have to admit that I can’t be bothered anymore — even when not out of breath :)

    • Running is especially vital for border terriers. They were bred to run with horses while still being small enough to crawl into fox sets to chase them out. A border terrier that doesn’t get exercised hard is a real handful.

      In fact, most of the time I probably don’t run hard or far enough for Harvey’s liking—hence his always waiting for me and being keen for more. It’s only when we do the six milers with the boys on bikes and me on foot that we notice Harvey starting to slow over the final half mile or so.

  4. Ha! This cracked me up, glad your dog has such an enjoyable life, and even more pleased you managed to turn out the idiots. They’re everywhere and in my experience its getting harder and harder! ;)

  5. You are a much nicer person than I am Stonehead. I find that a single upraised digit requires no breath at all and conveys the message nicely…

  6. Eh. Those ladies were crazy. Your dog leads a fantastic life. I’m surprised they couldn’t feel the joy radiating off a dog that was doing what it was made to do.

    • He’s not best pleased with me at the moment, though. I’ve had a nasty virus that’s laid me low for several days (hence the decline in blog posts) and I’ve barely managed to get croft work done, much less go for a run. The result is a miserable dog, even with the boys playing with him, who keeps looking at me with sorrowful eyes. He’d be extremely unhappy as a fat lap dog.

      • I don’t think most dogs are happy being sedentary. Maybe basset hounds… At any rate, I’m kind of amazed that they got a Jack Russell to be a fat lap dog. They aren’t known for their sedate natures.

  7. Andy in Germany Reply 7 July, 2012 at 20:06

    Perhaps that’s what happens when dogs bark at dogs with their owners: they’re just ticking the dog off for how they treat the two legs.

    I remember being told “It is better to stay silent and have people suspect you are a fool, than open it and remive all doubt”

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