Steady, gradual incline. My knee started to ache around mile 14. Stopped at a Baptist Church to rest. I was talking to my mom on the phone when a dog came out of nowhere. Fiji’s fur stood on her back, and she started barking and growling like no one’s business. The dog charged toward us, and I braced myself for a vicious dog fight….(story continued from my facebook page)
“No,” I yanked Fiji’s leash and pointed at the other dog. It turned out to be a cute jack Russell terrier/beagle mix. It was not barking, just eager to greet. However, Fiji was in protection mode. I feared she’d harm the smaller dog. Fiji growled and challenged little Toby; he just looked like a Toby, so I went with it. Toby was either real bold or seriously stupid because he kept creeping towards Fiji. Yanking Fiji, who is stronger than she looks, I started walking her away from Toby. He followed. “No, Toby! Stay back! Fiji! No!” This multi-tasking of alpha sternness and doggy training went on for five minutes. You would’ve been impressed. I had both dogs, one on leash and one off, walking calmly near each other in the church parking lot. We walked until they were no longer paying attention to the other. Toby stuck close, and I decided they could greet. I closed the gap between us, and both dogs hit it off. Fiji jumped over, sprinted away from, and tackled Toby. I laughed. It’s nice when Fiji finds a friend.
I didn’t want Toby to get hurt or lost, so I led him back to near a house behind the church. Knocking on the door, a little girl came out. “Are your parents home?”
“Yes.” She said.
“Can you go get them?” The girl just stood there staring at Fiji and Toby play.
“Okie dokie,” I whispered under my breath since she ignored my request to get her parents.
Suddenly, out came six more children. “OMG, it’s the seven little dwarfs, and I feel like Snow Black.” The joke went over the children’s heads, but I cracked myself up, so….
“Uh hmmm….” I cleared my throat. “So, uh, like, parents…maybe?” They said nothing. I looked at the corn field in their “front yard” and thought, this isn’t Snow White; it might very well be Children of the Corn. I chuckled.
A friendly looking woman stepped out of the house, and smiled at me. She turned her attention to the dogs.
“Toby, no. Come here!” She beckoned.
“Really? That dog’s name is Toby? I’ve been calling him that all along.” I felt clairvoyant and proud of myself. The woman said, “Oh, really? Wow!”
Her name was Robin. Her husband was Patrick. He happened to be the pastor at the church. If not for Toby, I wouldn’t have met what turned out to be a beautiful family. The children were ages 10, 9, 8, 6, 5, 3 and 1: Joshua, Caleb, Stephen, Kyle, Erica, Brian and Mark.
Fiji did great around the children and dog. She was gentle, but I still explained to the younger children that we have to respect doggies. The youngest pulled on Fiji’s skin, and while Fiji ignored this, I thought it would be a good opportunity to let the children know the dos and don’ts around dogs. Fiji wasn’t used to children poking and prodding, so I told Robin and Patrick that. They kept eager Mark, the one-year-old, away from Fiji, but boy was he persistent.
The church set up accommodations for me in town, and Patrick gave me a gift card for food. Fiji ate pieces of the children’s Popsicles. Overall, it was a good day. I am scared about my knees, though.
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