July 9, 2011
The first time Echo and I went “bikejoring”, I almost ended up taking a swim in San Francisco Bay. Echo had been trained to run beside the bicycle where I could control him, but now he was going to run 12 feet in front of me, pulling me on my bike. Everything was going fine until Echo saw the beach and decided he was hot and needed to cool down! The problem was that I was tethered to him. He took a quick left turn without a “Haw” command and aimed for the ocean. I was pressing with all my strength on the brakes and screaming “Whoa”. He finally stopped but it was a near miss with the water. We decided it was enough for that day.
Today we made a second attempt, far from the Bay. My son Emile, my neighbor Claude and I decided to go to the Golden Gate Park, near the Polo field. It’s a large open space. Emile and Claude were on their bikes, coaching Echo to follow them. I was in the back, enjoying the ride. I thought, “This is great!” Echo was keeping ahead of me, moving forward at a steady pace. Everything was perfect. We headed back to the car and I removed Echo’s harness and the lead line. But I didn’t notice the muddy pond about 50 feet away. Echo was much more observant than I was. Cool down time! He made a beeline for the water, and with all four legs up in the air, he jumped in. Surprise! The water was only a few inches deep, and right below the surface, it’s pure and soft mud. He sank to his neck and got stuck. He could barely move, but he was cool and happy. No point calling him, he looked at me with pure joy and a big smile. All I could see was the white on his face, but I knew that the rest of his body was covered in mud. There was no way I could go in and get him. Claude left to bike back home and Emile decided to go biking in the park. I sat on the bank and watched Echo enjoying his mud bath. I decided to try to old trick of leaving, and as soon as I disappeared from his sight, he came out. What a mess! He was filthy! I going to need a pressure hose to remove the mud. My poor car!