I have to be honest: I fall a little in love with every single dog that I walk.
I started out my dog walking with an expectant mama dog, Jessica Rabbit.
I took her out for her third walk of the day. I felt bad for her, what with being pregnant in an animal shelter and everything. She was a well-behaved dog, eager for treats but not particularly excited about humans. I was able to get the collar on her without wrestling her, and she walked nicely, not pulling on the leash or anything.
The next was a handsome boy named Stewie.
It made me think of Stewie Griffin, but Stewie was also a very well-behaved dog, although he was excited enough about the walk that I had to wrestle the collar onto him. Since he was such a big boy, I was nervous about him pulling, but he only pulled a bit and calmed down a bunch as soon as we were outside and he was able to relieve himself. He still pulled after that, but not as violently.
The next dog was honestly my favorite dog out of the whole bunch, Lil Eddie.
His bio says that he “walks well on a leash” which is a half-lie. I’ve seen worse. But Stewie and Jessica were such good walkers that Eddie was stinker by comparison. But Eddie charmed me. He was clearly going to be more difficult than the previous two dogs, so I held out my hand for him to sniff — and he put his paw in it.
Eddie knows Shake.
Eddie also tried to pick fights with dogs in the kennels he passed. But away from dogs, away from the shelter, when it was just us and the outside, Eddie was great. He didn’t pull during the walk, but he would just randomly stop. He would look at me to make sure that I was seeing what he sniffed (I didn’t), and then, when I didn’t react, he would take off. I decided to see what other tricks he knew. He seemed to only know Sit and Shake, but he was absolutely delighted to be asked and leaned against me. I was completely charmed.
The next dog was Roscoe.
I was nervous even going into Roscoe’s cage. He kept jumping against the door. I tried to distract him with a treat, just as I do the other dogs, to get him away from the door so I can go inside. He would go for the treat, but as soon as he heard the rattle of the door lock, he would run back to the door and jump on it. There were three uneaten treats on the other side of his kennel, and he was more interested in the door? Finally I just did my best to slip in. He didn’t even try to escape. Apparently he was really excited that I was there.
Roscoe jumped all over me. It took me a while to slip the collar over his head. I then started stroking his back and whispering shhhhh at him, hoping to calm him down. And he did calm down! So I reached over to adjust the collar to fit. That is how I discovered that he was chewing on the collar. As soon as I got the collar out of his mouth, he began jumping all over me, almost knocking me down. I felt a sudden pain on my cheek, and felt it go hot — he scratched me!
I got the collar off of him and got out of his kennel as soon as I could. I took out my phone and checked my face with the camera. There were three hot pink welts across my cheek.
I decided, after a moment of thinking, that Roscoe had just been over-excited. There was no malice in his scratching. However, he was clearly too much dog for me, and even though he clearly needed a walk, I decided not to go back and try to walk him.
I chose the next dog simply because there was a ribbon for Best Leash Walking in her portfolio.
Novia was a great dog with a sad face. Not too much in the way of personality. More than anything she seemed insecure. She kept stopping and looking at me like she expected me to validate her or something. She was, indeed, great on a leash. I had no problem getting the collar and leash on and off. Just because she was so easy after the Roscoe fiasco, I gave her extra treats.
Lambeau was my second-favorite dog. There are a few dogs who interpret leashes as tug-of-war ropes.
I will never stop a dog from playing with a toy. Especially not a shelter dog, who gets so little playtime anyway. Lambeau and I had a blast playing tug-of-war with a leash in the parking lot. Whenever James and I are finally able to get a dog, I am going to tell the matchmaker volunteer that I want a dog that likes tug-of-war. Lambeau knows. Tug-of-war is life.