(Cottonwood Creek, Colorado Springs, CO: 2008)
I see the beast heading straight toward me.
My heart starts racing and I look away. Almost immediately, I look back and our eyes lock. Even though he is yards away, I’m positive he can already sense, maybe even smell, the terror that I feel rapidly engulfing my entire body. He’s closer now, so I move to my left. He moves to my left. Like a fool trying to juke him again, I side-step to my right. He mirrors my action with no hesitation. Having no time to sort them, random thoughts and words flood my mind… Is he running faster now? Should I slow down? Should I speed up? Should I grab a stick? A rock? Where is his owner? …teeth, slobber, rabies, leash law, pepper spray, pooper scooper, help!
Nevermind, start thinking!
HE IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME...
Taking a deep, possibly final breath, I squeeze my eyelids closed and leap (I’d say hurdle, but my form is way off). With relief, I instantly welcome the solid, dirt trail beneath my feet once again and immediately look back. In full stride, the dog hasn’t missed a step... and neither have I.