The silver pods advanced towards us from around the bend. Dash and Moxie watched, transfixed. Moments earlier they had considered these pods with varying degrees of wonder, suspicion, and fear from below as the alien crafts thundered over our heads on our approach to the station. Now, with Dash’s leash in my hand and Moxie’s in Rob’s, we waited for our turn.
The attendant nodded at us. It was go time. Knowing our window for action was no longer than 7 seconds, I jumped in and encouraged Dash with a hardy tug of his leash. Not interested in crossing the moving intersection of pod and platform, he made his will known by planting his paws resolutely into the rubber surface of terra firma.
In the meantime, Rob scooped up Moxie and moved to toss her over Dash, but she wriggled from his grasp in a flash of stripes and alit on safe ground.
In the heartbeat before the gondola cabin lifted away from the platform, I leapt back out to rejoin my family.
The dog treat crumbs from my jacket pocket persuaded Dash to swallow his fear of moving surfaces, chase it with crumbs, and join me in the cabin. When we were both satisfied he was safe, we turned to see that Moxie had no intention of falling for the ploy Dash had just surrendered to.
A mighty struggle unfolded in the next second to lure Dash back off the gondola before the platform dropped off beneath us.
Watching our first two unsuccessful stabs, the gondola attendant disappeared into the control room and emerged with two incentives in the form of bacon-flavored treats. Ah. Outcome guaranteed.
“You can’t make me do something I don’t want to do by offering me something resembling bacon,” said no dog ever.
With some gentle leash-tugging and butt-lifting to reinforce the treats, both dogs found themselves in the gondola with seconds to spare before we began our ascent.
Up, Up, and Away
Moxie quivered next to an uncertain Dash. They’d never had a reason to mistrust us before, but now they seemed skeptical. Our efforts to soothe them failed; Moxie sniffed, scanned the interior of the cabin, and ultimately squirmed her way under the bench where I sat, while Dash leaned heavily on Rob, his tail swept tightly between his legs.
As Moxie trembled under the bench, Dash’s curiosity and innate lust for adventure soon prevailed. He placed one paw, then the other, on the opposite bench and lifted himself to peer through the curved window. The three of us watched the box canyon that is Telluride grow wider, opening to reveal a glowing spread of aspen and evergreens.
Maybe Moxie was inspired by Dash’s courage, or perhaps she simply couldn’t bear the idea of missing out on something he had. Soon she popped up next to him, and both dogs were sampling the fall colors of the San Juan Mountains.
As a teacher, I am keen on finding lessons in every experience. So what did Dash and Moxie learn that day?
- Starting is the hardest part.
- Sometimes our only available transportation is a leap of faith.
(Sentiment attributed to Margaret Shepard)
- There is no fear so daunting that it can’t be overcome by bacon.