tall dog, short fountain

I don’t remember the last time I used a public water fountain on a run but I do remember using them. It’s a sunny day, I’m sweating profusely and dehydrated, perhaps planned or maybe stumbled upon, it’s a welcome pause.

Here in Victoria a lot of the public water fountains are encased in stones and cement. There’s often a bowl at the top with a button for operation and a mirrored bowl at the bottom for dogs – it makes a pleasing Z-shape to the eye. I say the bottom bowl is for dogs, I occasionally see people walking rabbits on a leash nearby but I’m not sure they use the fountain. During the pandemic I’ve settled into a running route that has at least three of these water fountains but for various competing reasons (winter, COVID) I haven’t touched them.

On a run a few weeks ago I saw a tall dog drinking out of the human end of the fountain. This dog was very tall, it’s head was comfortably above the basin and his owner/enabler had pressed the button. I thought back to the many times I’ve used water fountains in the past, how I’d been told they were unclean but how I’d used them anyway. Was the assumption today that the fountains weren’t being used due to COVID so why not? It’s unclear. Perhaps the dog was simply too tall to bow it’s head to the ground? It’s a possibility but perhaps unlikely. The bottom bowl was left alone.

I like loops and cycles. The feeling of resolution when something comes back to where it started. Or the synchrony of two plans coming together. I don’t like carrying things when I run so on multi-hour routes I’ve resorted to stashing a coin for a convenience store refuel. I sometimes daydream about leaving a bottle at a strategic point and looping back halfway through my run. I never do it, I’m concerned it would look suspicious or – more unlikely – be tampered with in some way.

Last week I saw a human sweep a little, short dog into their arms before holding them above the water fountain. Perhaps this dog was simply too short for the dog end of the stony-Z? As he lapped at the stream I thought how the fountain would look untouched once the thirst of the terrier was quenched.