I read somewhere that people over the age of sixty fall on average once a year. Clearly, I’m way above average!
I understand that mountain biking is inherently risky and falling is just part of the package. I accept that, but dog walking shouldn’t be a high risk activity. Of course, that’s what I thought about cleaning my neighbor’s chicken run too and that got me cracked ribs. Lest you think me a complete klutz, allow me to explain.
Ever since the girls,working in concert, caught a rabbit, I’ve been keeping one of them on one of those retractable leashes whenever I’m in an area where rabbits don’t have a 360 degree radius of escape. Once we get out to the river bottom, I can turn them both loose without much danger of them running anything down.
Today, we were walking along the unpaved water district easement where there’s a chain link fence about fifty yards away. Rabbits can get chased up against the fence so I had Sadie on the leash. Mollie stays fairly close to me so she can be loose. I was blithely enjoying the morning sunshine and listening to The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich on my MP3 player when Sadie spotted something that needed chasing. It was something so exciting that she forgot she was on the leash. My German-made, 26 foot, retractable leash smoothly played out like a fishing pole with a marlin on the line as she sprinted to top speed in 0.24 seconds. My brain shifted from the Third Reich to the ensuing problem at hand perhaps a bit more slowly than optimal and I instinctively braced for the impact that would occur when she hit the 26 foot limit of the leash.
Now, I never took physics in school, but common sense would normally advise one that 65 pounds of German Shepherd, traveling at a rate of speed of approximately 25 miles per hour, is going to have a rather catastrophic impact on a 120 pound, sixty-four year old woman. But of course, common sense had no say in this story.
I found myself being violently jerked off my feet and being dragged through skin lacerating rocks and gravel before I had the sense to let go of the handle of the leash. To be honest, I’m not sure I voluntarily let go.
I lay face up where I fell, pain radiating from every part of my right side. Being an above average faller, I knew better than to attempt to right myself immediately, even though I was mortally afraid that the heavy equipment operator who was working the spoil pile some 100 yards away might see me and wonder if he should investigate. How mortifying would that be?!
Eventually, I sat up and looked around for my dogs. Mollie was sitting about four feet away, looking deeply concerned. Sadie, leash tangled in brush some thirty feet away, was prevented from coming over to lick my face, fortunately. I regained my feet, blood dripping from my arm, pants torn and bloody, and retrieved my cell phone from my back pocket. It was dirty but undamaged. (Wow, that’s pretty good for a case that cost me $1.00 at the Big Lots store!) I called home, hoping Mike would come and get us but he had already left for a bike ride. There was naught to be done but limp home. Sadie was contrite and walked quietly by my side, never volunteering to take liberties. She seemed to sense that she was doggie non grata. Mollie too, stayed close, nuzzling my hand occasionally to assure herself that she was the good dog.
So, it looks like I’m going to be nursing yet another damaged rib and sticking to the sheets for a few weeks. It kinda sucks since there’s no glory in dog walking wrecks.