I went running around the Deschutes River Trail in Bend today with Roxanne (not her real name) and her dog Inga (not his real name.) Roxanne runs faster than me, so I usually bring my camera.
Roxanne is a professional photographer, so it's easy to make her stop every half mile and take a picture of me, which allows me to catch my breath.
I love Inga the dog, but he's shy. Roxanne says he perked up when he saw me today which means he likes me, but I saw him perk up near a bush, and then I didn't feel so special. She said he loves bushes, too.
Sometimes it takes a while for Inga to warm up to me, but eventually, if Roxanne allows it, he'll let me hold his leash.
"I think you are stifling him," I said to Roxanne. "Clearly he needs a change of pace. He wants to run with me, obviously." She gave me his leash when he was busy watching a duck. I thought he might not notice.
"Look, Roxanne," I said, "he's fine. No need to worry. Inga and I are friends now, see?"
"He is not embarrassed, Roxanne," I said. "Inga is thrilled to be with me. Thrilled! I've never seen him so happy. Can we run again tomorrow?"
"Maybe," says Roxanne. "I'll call you after his therapy session. He may need a little quiet time tomorrow to regroup. Nothing personal. It's not you, it's him."
Dogs are so fickle.