In case anyone out there is thinking, “Hmmm. Maybe I’ll just take a my dog for a walk. That’ll be a fun workout. Plus safe, because dogs obviously. Let’s do this.”
I am here to warn you… I laughed the first time I saw these dog leash instructions.
Walking your dog can be very dangerous. You are at risk for eye and facial injuries. Falls. Public Humiliation.
Just stay safely in your homes like the hyper-vigilant agoraphobics that we are.
Just kidding. Be like me. Buy a nice retractable dog leash. In fact, get two because two dogs at home, duh. Then cutely hook the fresh looking leashes to to their collars. Smile to yourself, pat yourself on the back, tell yourself what a great dog owner you will be today. Everyone will see how much you love your fur babies when you strut them confidently around the neighborhood.
Then head for the front door.
Then try not to break your neck as the overzealous, tail wagging, eighty pound twin beasts attempt to take YOU for a brisk sprint down the stairs and to the front walk.
Round said beasts up. Make them obey. They sit. They heel. You proceed.
They walk slowly behind. For the superbly overweight beast, it’s because he’s old and not so jazzed about being tied up (Our dogs free range. Neighbors love it). For the mutt that can’t keep an extra pound on him to save his vibrating energetic life, it’s because he is also a very timid rescue and you just used your firm voice. He is sure to let all the neighbors think you beat him daily to get that kind of compliance (We don’t, I assure you).
We make it a few blocks and they’re doing great. I give them a little extra slack on the line, letting them get ahead a bit to sniff trees, mailboxes, invisible things that make them alert and excited. You know, the norm.
Then they both see a squirrel. They immediately take off like a couple of rabbid hyenas intent on catching the prey. I quickly find the brakes on these suddenly very complicated leashes. The dogs slow down, but they each have about five hundred yards of leash that they use to the fullest extent running around the tree in which said squirrel just climbed.
Except they don’t exactly communicate a plan with each other. They just bark obnoxiously and take turns going different directions around the tree until their three miles of leashes are so tangled I fear never being able to separate them again. Like, ever.
I slowly take my time unwinding this mess. I get the younger one done and tie him to the tree while I try to extricate the other from this hellish maze. I am just thankful that they have quit barking, though they are both intently panting and whining at the base of the tree.
Or so I thought. Once I get the second fat bastard unwound, I realize the first, much younger display of life has chewed halfway through his leash or better.
Ugh. Time to turn this party around. This was more exercise than I got yesterday, right? Also, my heart rate is up so that has to count for something…
We make it about a block closer to home before the old dog has to piss. Well, I kind of expected that, no problem. He takes a few steps towards home and the younger one immediately runs over to said pile of piddle and adds to it. Except he leaves a few logs in this river.
They didn’t warn me about that in the leash packaging. I didn’t come prepared. I desperately looked around, wondering if anybody would reeeaaally know it was my dogs if I just left the little log jam where it lies.
I see the neighbor outside having a cigarette, giving a friendly wave. Well, fuck. This isn’t going as planned. I politely wave back, feeling the blush all the way down to my toes. I start speed walking back, intent on finding a shovel and cleaning up soon.
When the bravest (or dumbest) squirrel of all time runs right in front of us, skipping three trees before finding one to sprint up.
By that time both dogs, cataracts and all have seen the fluffy thing and are charging full speed. I call them to halt, to heel, “No!” in my firm voice, but clearly they know who runs the show around here. I decide to show them who’s boss by putting the fancy brakes on those fancy leashes, only to have the chewed one snap and come whirling back like a whip dancer in the 1800s. Except I have no talent. and no defense.
Ladies and gentlemen. If there is one thing to be learned today, it is to be VERY careful when choosing your first exercise. Also, read ALL the directions on the warning instruction sheet with the leashes. They’ve all been tested and proven accurate…