A running adventure … and a new friend

I love running when I’m away from home because it gives me new experiences; different terrain, sites, sounds, smells, and weather turn each run into a refreshing break from my old routine.

The other day, I had a very unique experience running while traveling. The weather reports had been talking about a tropical hurricane for some time, but it had been continuously downgraded and eventually became what we thought was just some rain and a bit of wind. A few kilometers into my run, the drizzle turned into rain which then became heavy rain. As I continued it started to become fairly windy. I was about 5 kilometers along a road lined with sugar cane fields when I noticed a dog standing in the middle of the road about a hundred meters ahead of me, just staring at me. I had to think about what action to take. It was early in the morning, there was very little traffic, and most of the dogs here have some Pit Bull mix in them. There was no sign of anyone else around. I slowed down so that I didn’t appear threatening. As I walked up I realized it was not a menacing looking dog at all but a cute floppy-eared Pointer. I looked around and asked him where his people were and then decided to continue on. The wind was picking up and the rain was starting to hit me sideways. The dog seemed a little nervous and disoriented, bounding from one field, across the road, to another field and back to me as I continued along my way. A lone car drove by and the dog clearly had no traffic sense as it just missed being in the road at the same time. I tried not to engage him as I did not want him to follow me – I was almost at the halfway mark of my loop and would end up 6 kilometers from where we were. The dog had other ideas however, and bounded along beside me as I turned down a more remote cane field road. I began to think this was no ordinary storm as the wind gusts were blasting rain sharply into my face and at times would blow me sideways nearly off my feet. My buddy was clearly terrified of the storm, as every blasting gust would drive him either into the cane fields only to return behind me a few seconds later or directly into my body as he sought comfort. (I later learned that the wind was blowing at 50 km/hr with gusts up to 80 km/hr.) At this point I realized we were in it together and there was no getting rid of him, so I patted him and offered him some comforting words as we continued along. Tree branches and debris from the storm were littering the road, and I ran the last few kilometers with my arms at my head to protect myself from whipping debris.

my tree-lined route on a nicer day

my tree-lined route on a nicer day

status of many branches after the storm

status of many branches after the storm

We finally made it back to our rented cottage and I left my poor shaking friend outside while we called the animal rescue shelter.

waiting trustingly - he'd clearly put his faith in me to get him safely home

waiting trustingly – he’d clearly put his faith in me to get him safely home

It was a bit sad to drop him off – we’d shared an adventure together, but I knew his people were probably anxiously looking for him.

saying "good-bye"

saying “good-bye”

Sure enough, within ten minutes of leaving the shelter we received a call that his owners were on their way to pick him up. I’m happy that my friend found his home, but strangely, even though I was with him for only a couple of hours, I miss him. Maybe it’s time to get a dog…