on a less ambiguous note, i made several new friends in that small group, including michele. thus far, i've learned that michele works at sentara, lives in the country, and is a loving mother with lots of fun interests, including all things nature, kayaking, birdwatching (specifically waterfowl), photography, writing, and...bum bum BUM...dog scootering. michele was kind enough to read my blog, and even kinder still to invite me to do something very few people have done - get pulled at high speeds on a manual scooter by her two dogs.
michele and i met up in the evening and set out for dismal swamp. i'll take a moment while you californians google that to ensure i didn't make it up. great dismal swamp. who thought of that name? they are fired by now, i'm certain. also, jeff, arabella, shep and i went there once, but we somehow made it to the not so great side of it and were super confused by the name. i thought they should change it to something like "underwhelming dismal swamp" or "wee dismal swamp." this time i had a better glimpse of why it's called great, though now i kind of think it should be called "great big road with no cars."
anyway, i had the pleasure of meeting jack and riley, who would be my horsepower for the evening. jack is a golden retriever and riley is a german shorthaired pointer. jack is sweet and calm and riley is a spazzoid. jack had terrible breath and riley really wanted to sit in the front seat of the car with me even though she was the size of a preteen. i love them.
we got to the trail, and michele hooked the dogs up. oh! a note: we were not slave driving. riley especially has a lot of extra energy no matter how much michele walks her, so michele discovered dog scootering as one way to really give her the exercise she loves. don't be hating, peta people.
i was much too chicken to hop on the scooter first and i encouraged michele to give it a go and wear the dogs out a bit before i got on. she did and it looked like fun and i thought i could handle it, so i went on.
SO FUN. those dogs could run! and michele said they weren't as fast as usual because it was hot that evening, so i can imagine it would be exhilarating at top speed. we went about a mile and a half before they lost steam and needed a break, but it was a fun trip. when we got back to the car, michele placed a water bowl in front of the dogs and riley made it clear that she was overheated when she took a few gulps, then tried to get into the bowl.
also, i'm used to getting looks from strangers because my dog buster has such a unique coat, but i got way more looks with this contraption:
of course, they really might have been looking at my shirt, which combines super Christianity with twilight. epic, right? my grandma sent it to me.
in conclusion, a huge thank you to michele, riley, and jack for this awesome new thing. i hope to hang out with you three again sometime soon!