How many lessons CAN one learn from a dog? Well, since DOG is GOD spelled backwards and I happen to LOVE dogs (especially MY dogs), I find myself always asking GOD to speak to me through my DOG. Sure enough, GOD does! Not the same as speaking through a donkey, I suppose, but pretty dang awesome, if you ask me! So here’s the story of the week from the farm dog. Pretty funny looking back, but I was fuming at the time.
The trip starts with great expectations. It’s a date, after all. With dogs. Oh, and yes, my husband.
“C’mon! Get up!” I say to both yellow lab, Rose, and Yorkshire terrier, Baker, as I open the Toyota’s back door. Rose jumps in first, followed by Baker. I throw in their leashes and Rose’s Gentle Leader, the contraption she must have for walking on a leash or else she’ll take anyone holding that leash for a waterskiing adventure. Without the water. When one forgets to let go of the line.
Todd, I and the two dogs ramble down that long gravel drive of ours, leaving our 44-acre slice of paradise for the state park exactly one mile down the road. What does the state park have that we don’t?
A quarry. Filled with water. Right there in the middle of the park. I do the math in my head.
QUARRY + WATER + YELLOW LAB = PURE JOY (for YELLOW LAB)
Surely, since there’s no swimming of any kind (or species) allowed at the quarry, and since we’ll be walking the whole perimeter of that quarry, it will be most necessary to have that Gentle Leader strapped onto one YELLOW LAB’S head to keep her from taking me waterskiing—for real.
We get to the park. We park in the lot. We get the wagging-tailed dogs out of the backseat with leashes attached. I look for the Gentle Leader.
Nowhere to be found.
“I had it in my hand! How can it not be in the car?!” I’m irritated.
Rather than get back in and drive one mile back home to get the GENTLE LEADER, we decide to take Rose on a leash only.
She starts pulling with her full-blown, 70-pound lab enthusiasm the minute she sees the first canine on the trail to the quarry. With all my might, I pull her back and tell her to “SIT!”. She doesn’t sit. But she doesn’t yank again either. I’ll take it.
We make it to the quarry. Then, it happens . . .
She sees the WATER. And at that point, she’s like a locomotive. No stopping her. I pull with all my might, but this time she’s got momentum and a goal that not even GOD is going to thwart.
IN she goes. Right into the quarry. With ME attached to the other end of the leash trying to get a grip on the rocks under my feet. Do I let go of the leash like a sane person? NO! In I go, shoes and socks and shorts and all, still holding that leash—and the dog on the end. Good thing I got wet because I was pretty steaming mad.
I pull myself AND that dog out of the quarry with my husband standing their watching. I’m thinking that if he says one word—if he makes his face look anything other than completely deadpan—if he should happen, accidentally, to laugh—I think I’ll have to kill him.
And so, without looking at Todd’s face so as to spare his life, I drag that dog on that leash right past him, all dripping wet. And squishing in my sneakers with each heavy stomping step, I say . . .
“I’M GOING BACK TO GET THAT GENTLE LEADER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
(YES! I SAID IT JUST LIKE THAT—IN ALL RED BOLD CAPS with a gazillion exclamation marks! FOR THE WHOLE DANG PARK TO HEAR! And this outburst, I might add, is all because I insisted on walking Rose because Todd—well, he gets slightly annoyed when she pulls. My pride should be drowned at this point, but it’s doing a perfectly beautiful swan dive for all at the quarry to see—and hear.)
So I power-walk all squishy back to the car with Todd and the Yorkie beside me—the Yorkie desperately trying to keep up with his, short legs and all.
We get in.
We drive north ONE MILE to our state park of a property.
I find that GENTLE LEADER on the lawn where I dropped it while picking up a pile of weeds before loading the dogs.
I get back in the car.
We drive south again ONE MILE to the state park and park the car, again. This time, after unloading the canines, I strap that GENTLE LEADER over Rose’s nose and . . .
No pulling! No trying to go her own way! No trying to get her own way! No walking out in front of me!
The four of us stroll all around that quarry—with water—on our husband/wife/doggie date. Rose is happy as can be walking right beside me. All because of a webbed strap over her nose that controls her head-strong nature.
Maybe I need a GENTLE LEADER.
Maybe I already have one.
Maybe, if I stay right beside Him and stop pulling, we’ll both have a more pleasant time of it.