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14 October 2009

A New Leash On Life

We made many minor mistakes as young doggie parents do, but one that we corrected right away was the length of our puppies' leashes. Falling prey to colorful displays in the pet stores, we bought our three dogs each a collar with a matching 5-foot leash. Even though they were now styling and hip pups, soon we found out during walking all three dogs at the same time that they could wrap us up like spaghetti noodles on a spoon. Meandering back and forth all over the sidewalks to sniff, their leashes would tangle and soon we were all in a knotted mess. So we took to wrapping each leash around our wrists until the leashes were short enough to allow them to only dream of wandering towards each and every wonderful smell. But that grew old soon enough. When one dog decided to poop, we'd have to unwrap the leashes to let them go do their business and then re-wrap everything again. Things were just getting too complicated.

I was leaving my current job at the time and my co-workers, who knew of my animal kingdom at home, gave me a gift certificate to a fancy dog store as a parting gift. As Warren and I perused this up-scale dog boutique, we couldn't really imagine ourselves with any of these hoity toity doggie items. I mean seriously, we had labs, they would chew up just about anything. Then we came across these 2 foot leashes and something clicked. How easy it would be to control the dogs with these. Why hadn't we known about these earlier? Was this something only wealthy dog owners knew about? I only foresaw one problem, they weren't really cool looking. Just plain black. Dang, didn't they have some cool patterned ones somewhere? Well, we were looking for practical right? So we bought three of them and headed home to try them out. Oh it was a dream come true. Walks become joyous and no longer a twisted jungle of leashes.

So things stayed pretty much the same for the next 3 or so years. Then Huckleberry's 4th birthday approached. Labs are supposed to begin to mellow around the age of 4 right? Would our little girl who prided herself on her passionate view of life, even slighty be tamed? Warren decided that as a big girl now who understood and followed very well the rules of dog walking, deserved a brand new leash. Not just any leash, mind you, a big girl leash. A leash that was 5 feet long. Oh boy this was a massive undertaking. A gamble. Would she behave on it? Since it was her birthday, we opted to take her for a walk all by herself to try out the new leash. As we walked down the street, she slowly realized that she had some lee-way here and there. As soon as she figured that out, she began prancing with her head help up high. Oh how she had longed for us to see her as a big girl. Just like any young dog, you give them a few extra feet of leash and they take full advantage. Soon she was bounding ahead of us and then stopping abruptly to sniff something only dogs can smell. Our lovely walk was fast becoming a race to keep up with where Huckleberry wanted to go next. As much as we hated to rain on her parade, we roped her in and made her heel. She listened pretty well after her initial excitement but she still held her head high because she had a new leash on life now, she was four now and her brothers didn't get to be in on this game. It was all about her and that was the best birthday present we could have ever given her.

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