So, unfortunately, it's not always fun and games to walk dogs. One of my crew, in particular, has a tendency to be a complete pain in the ass. He is a big dog, who gets little attention at home. He spends about 14 hours a day unattended in his yard, with a high fence so he can only imagine what may be going on outside of it. As a result, my 30 minutes with him bring on an anxious and highly excitable state. He is sweet and loving when I arrive...in fact, he can recognize the sound of my car and begins to bark before I even park out front. As soon as I enter the gate he is ready to go. I make him wait while I scratch his back and tummy, stroke his ears and discuss my plan for the day's adventure. Finally, we head out and he immediately begins to pull and scratch to get up the steps and onto street level. He chases everything...FedEx and UPS trucks are a favorite nemesis...as is the unfortunate mail person who makes a (wise) point to dodge us. This dog knows every house where a dog lives, may have lived at some point, may have visited or even sniffed while walking by...and at each of these homes he growls, becomes excited and tries to pull away from me. Now, I am a strong woman (especially after 5 months with this rascal!) He yanks so hard some days I think he will pull me over. I wrap the leash around my arm several times and even have a special leash made for aggressive dogs. At least once a week he gets the better of me and I end up with a bruise, contusion or some sort of injury. On these occasions, I get angry, but rarely with him. He can't help it. I am angry with his parents who don't give him enough attention, and don't walk him themselves to see how troubling it can be for him. Then...as if that's not enough...there's the poop issue. Yes, he is a very furry guy, particularly around the back end. So, when he is excited, his poop often is "loose". A hairy butt and loose stool equal trouble. Enough said there...I'm sure you get the gist. By the time our 30 minutes is approaching its end, I am exhausted, he is more so and we get back to his yard. He immediately runs to his favorite shady spot, which is on a retaining wall that separates the patio from the yard area. Suddenly, he is the cutest and sweetest baby in the universe, patiently waiting while I fill his water bowl from the hose and bring it to him in his spot for a drink. I've taught him to give me a kiss when I bring his water, and he drinks while I rub his head and ears and neck. He drinks in my affection and the last bit of attention he will have until I see him again the next day. I am no longer irritated at his bad behavior, and instead am happy to be his source of love in the world. I am also happy that this part of my daily rounds is complete and I am soon off to the next furball awaiting my visit.
I'm happy it's Friday. My own sweet babies are happy mama is home to be with them for two full days!
Wag more. Bark less.