Cats supposedly have nine lives. I met a dog this weekend that apparently has at least two. My heart may have stopped for a moment as the pooch was nearly hit by a semi truck on an Iowa highway.

I probably flirted with death a little over the weekend by participating in a cross-Iowa relay run in ninety-degree heat with too little sleep and vehicles whizzing by mere feet from where we ran. But the friendly, old pooch takes the cake for playing a real-life game of Frogger.

Dog owners need to be careful about letting their animals roam free, especially when they live near a major highway. Relay Iowa is a fundraising extreme running event with teams of runners crossing the state west-to-east using county highways at times.

At one exchange point, our runner was waiting for a hand-off when the dog approached. It was obviously a friendly dog (pictured below). After he greeted our runner Steve, he slowly meandered across the street to where I was standing by the vehicle. It just so happened a semi was cruising by at that moment. I started back-pedaling as I envisioned the dog being smacked by the semi and hurled in my direction.

The semi had no where to go but straight ahead. The driver slowed without locking his brakes and the dog made it across the street to me. I held onto him as our other runner Angela handed off the GPS unit and joined me. The only number on the dog's tag was for a vet clinic that was closed for the weekend.

Another running team drove down a long driveway just down the highway and found the dog's owner, who drove back to us and retrieved his dog. I would hate to see a dog chained or caged on a large farmstead, but that's better than seeing him dead alongside the road. Also, remember to have a contact phone number on a tag on your pets.

I supposed he could have joined us as a mascot. But I fear he would have eaten all our food and we already had a mascot, Chuck, who is pictured in the lead photo for this story.

Relay Iowa is a 339-mile adventure from Sioux City on the Missouri River to Dubuque on the Mississippi River that raises money for various charities. Approximately 45 teams, totaling about 500 runners, spent three days and two nights in this ninth annual event.



dog with runner
Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media

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