Marking Territory

Today's lesson learned: be careful where and how you pee when out running.

We've been experiencing a bit of a thaw in this part of Idaho, melting much of the existing snow cover, creating ice and slush, even bare roads where normally the girls and I would happily run on hard-packed snow. This morning, we drove a few miles (and 1000 ft up in elevation) to a new housing development where there was more snow and little traffic. About two miles into the run, in a deserted cul-de-sac, I stopped to pee, well out of sight of any nearby construction crews or homes. Needing my hands free, I let the girls wander with their leash dragging (I use a coupler - a 16" long bit of webbing leash with an O ring in the middle and clips on either end to connect to their collars; a single leash then connects to the O ring, making life much simpler for me, and them - they've learned to work as a team with this system). I hid myself as much as possible, dropped my tights, and assumed the female's squatting pee position. Here's the lesson: I was so focused on, and involved in, my own process, that I didn't think that Meadow might decide the break was a good time for her to pee as well! She did, missing the leash by a mere inch. I watched, helpless to grab the leash, because I was busy doing the same thing. Dogs - males, females, doesn't matter - like to mark territory where it already has been, or is currently being, marked. I was marking. Meadow marked. I got lucky - she missed the leash. I would not have wanted to finish the run holding a pee-soaked leash.

The rest of our run was uneventful, except for the delight and energy it brought us. Oh, and also excepting the Chow mix, who heard my girls playing toward the end of our run (Meadow throws in lots of play-growls when trying to get Maia to play), and crossed a busy street and a field deep in snow to investigate. Not knowing him, I quickly put the girls in my car. After observing him, though, I concluded he's blind, or at least very nearsighted; he could smell us, but then turned the wrong way and barked repeatedly in the opposite direction.