I’m dog sitting my best friend’s two Jack Russell’s this week. They have been joining Pepe (my huge greyhound cross breed) and I on our daily runs around the Sussex countryside. On a couple of occasions I’ve invited Rocky (a friend’s whippet/staff). And spending time with this group has been the most pleasant surprise.
Each dog has his own character which is displayed in a diluted version within the running pack. Running minimises character traits down to necessary displays only as most of our energies are being used in the running….this is certainly true of longer distances as we tire.
I am pack leader. No question. The absolute autocrat of our group. I know it and it feels quite natural, I expect to be obeyed and on the rare occasion I am not it surprises and frustrates me.
Next in line to the throne is Pepe, he is a cool customer. Doesn’t feel the need to assert his authority, the strong and silent type, completely comfortable in his ranking and in himself. When challenged he either reciprocates or sprints off instigating a game of chase. Otherwise he canters gracefully alongside me, only occasionally deviating from our course for a particularly juicy sniff and pee.
Rocky has enough character for 10 dogs and he is next in the pecking order. As he tires he tends to stride out in front, leading us all but regularly looking back or running into the pack for assurance. Before this stage he is totally random, manically trying to engage with anyone mainly Pepe. He charges, nips, barks, pounces, chases, spins, humps and trails him, constantly sprinting between him me and the point of our diamond formation pack. He is overflowing with life juice which totally saturates his muscles. Normally it takes about 4 miles to run it out and for his behaviour to reach a level plateau.
Next is Champion, aptly named as his legs are tiny yet he stays tight showing little sign of fatigue. As Rocky pelts assault after assault into Pepe’s flank Champion charges vocally after them both, otherwise he is consistently 3ft behind me. He is always in position, ready for action but too little to have confidence in his power. A great team player and back up he is always game.
Bringing up the rear literally and in rank is Hercules. Fat boy. He struggles with any speed or distance and trots panting about 100ft behind us. He avoids any kind of interaction too exhausted to risk further energy expenditure. He is able to blend into the background so gets overlooked by stronger members of the pack and he likes it this way. He doesn’t enjoy the rambunctious nature that Rocky brings to the pack, whereas Champion loves it and Pepe tolerates it.
I love being part of this pack. I particularly enjoy being in the middle of it which is why I prefer Rocky’s participation. When he is not with us I lead us, this means the feeling of being encompassed by dogs is lost. Rocky forces us all to engage with him, the spin off to that experience is I reap energy from the pack, they lift me. I feel free, joyous, like I could run and run and run. I have my music on and it’s never loud enough, the wind never blustery enough. My senses become totally wide open and I want more and more. I feel completely free, ecstatic, alive, pleasured and complete running with the wolves.