The Alpha

by Patricia

This is the story of a lovely family outing on a bright sunny morning.

The outing I speak of was the family adventure that made me wonder if my dog has any survival instincts at all. It also made me wonder if I should buy life insurance on myself before the next family outing.

Let us begin.

Imagine if you will, that it’s a peaceful morning, the leaves are still wet with dew from the prior evenings’ downpour. Perhaps in the distance you can hear the sweet sing song of the chickadees.

It was a morning much like this when our family hike turned into an adventure that has left permanent scars upon my psyche.

My husband, our children and I had been walking our dogs along a nature trail that is located somewhere between Anchorage, Alaska and “hey, I think we are lost”. When Thor decided that enough is enough and he is going to stop walking all together to protest the cruel treatment of making him get his paws all muddy.

Silly dog, doesn’t he remember that I am the alpha of this family pack?

There is no way he is going to get the better of me so I trudge along, gently pulling his lead as I say “Would you like a treat Thor?” “Just a few more steps boy and I will give you some yummy treats”. This goes along for a few hundred more yards until we get to the base of a fairly large mountain. Upon seeing this mountain Thor decides to turn around and hitchhike home. Luckily the trail is slippery and he cannot get traction. I giggle as I watch him do his personal impression of Scooby Doo running in place.

Then, it hits me, how am I going to get Thor up this mountain trail? I have no more treats and it will be hard enough climbing up let alone trying to accomplish this feat with a dog pulling in the opposite direction. I contemplate for a moment on this problem, calmly reminding myself that I am the alpha and he must do as I say.

Fast forward several hours.

My back is killing me as I have just carried, pushed and pulled my 50 pound bull terrier up this steep mountainside trail. I am sore, out of breath and my face is turning a lovely shade of pearl white. I have also ventured into creating new and profound swear words that only a dog can understand.

At this point I decide to meander over to the other side of the trail and enjoy the breathtaking view from the height of this majestic mountain. Thor accompanies me trying to pretend that it’s perfectly normal for a dog of his size to be carried around like a backpack.

All at once my lovely fur ball either sees some small critter or he has just decided that Payback will be hell for dragging him up here, he takes off at full terrier speed with me attached to his lead. I don’t bother trying to hold my Ground, as the ground is wet and muddy from the previous nights’ rain storm. My only hope is to stay upright and keep up.

O MY GOD! The dog Who wouldn't climb to save his own life has suddenly developed agility beyond measure as he drags me down this huge mountain side (was that a BEAR that I just slid past?!). My spouse yells DUCK! (In between gales of laughter) just at the time I get whacked in the face with a tree branch and I spend the rest of this descent on my back hoping my nose is not broken.

When we get to the bottom of the mountain side does my dog apologize? Absolutely not! Does he make sure I am not crippled for life? Nope. He immediately decides to dig up a new playmate and kick the dirt right in my face as I lay there helplessly waiting for a medical airvac helicopter to rescue me.

Now after I have told you all of this you have to wonder, where was my survival instinct when I said "Honey, let’s get a Bull Terrier!!"

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