Retractable Leash Adds Element of Fun for Passing Runners

A dog walker using a retractable leash delighted and entertained runners on a local trail yesterday, Dumb Runner has learned.

The dog in question, sources said, was medium-sized, "very energetic," and of indeterminate breed. The dog's owner, a twentysomething man in casual clothing, was using his free hand to stare at his phone. 

Local runner Jackson Browne, 42, encountered the two about halfway through his five-mile run.

I love dogs and I love being surprised. So this was doubly fun for me.
— Jackson Browne, runner

"I love dogs and I love being surprised," said Browne. "So this was doubly fun for me."

Browne described approaching from behind and trying to guess where the dog—and, by extension, the leash—was going to go next.

"One moment the dog was walking directly in front of his owner," he said. "The next, he's darting to the left, chasing something and taking about 10 feet of leash with him. And then he darts right again."

Browne said he welcomed the unexpected challenge.

"By that point in my run, frankly, I was sort of on autopilot," he said. "Then, suddenly, I had to deal with this erratic hazard. It was, like, Oh, hello! I had to laugh."

The scene played itself out again and again as runners traveling in both directions had to contend with what was, in essence, a tripwire whose length and placement could change in the blink of an eye.

"So fun!" said Linda Ronstadt, 27, another runner who stumbled across the leash—literally.

"I didn't realize it was a retractable leash at first, so I was just passing on the left as usual," Ronstadt recalled. "Then the dog whipped right in front of me and suddenly there's this cord blocking my way."

She fell, skinning a knee.

"Ha ha!" Ronstadt said.

Reached for comment, the dog's owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said that he uses a retractable leash because his dog likes it.