I've mentioned before the rather strange custom I witnessed (many times) in southwestern Colorado whereby people drive down dirt roads letting their dogs run behind the cars for exercise. Recently here in Forest Hills I saw a small family take this occupation to new heights. There were four people in a car, at passing glance it looked like parents in the front, a grandmother and a baby in the back. The car was moving slowly down 68th Avenue and running along about ten feet behind the car was a young girl in pigtails. She must have been somewhere between 7-10, running determinedly after the car which sped up and slowed down a few times, never getting more than a few houses ahead of the child. Finally the car pulled over, perhaps because we were openly watching the spectacle, and a hand reached out the open window and motioned sharply to the child. We heard the child huff "Ma-ma!" She sped up and raced towards the waiting vehicle. We turned the corner and didn't see the actual reunion, New Yorkers hate to gawk, although the vision lingered in my mind. Was it a punishment, a training session, an object lesson? We'll never know. You just never can tell what you'll see when you're out walking the dog.