The reason I officially stopped walking the bigger dogs is found in the title of this blog. It was a beautiful day, weather wise, and I had stopped by the shelter with my youngest daughter, who was three at the time. After bathing and playing with a pile of puppies, I convinced my little "Wudge" (As in Wudgey, Wudgey Woo) to come with me and pick out a bigger dog to take for a walk. I took a leash, and with her by my side, we walked around to the kennels where the large, adult dogs were kept. It was hard to choose, I wish I could take them all, but I chose carefully because I needed to make sure it was not aggressive and that I could manage it while walking.
As I gazed at each dog, trying to decide, their eyes all pleaded in unison, "Pick me, pick me!", one of the workers at the shelter came by and suggested a cute, friendly, but very excited female dog. It seemed like a good idea to me to take her too, so I opened the gate, slipped a leash over her head, and off we went. With the exception of a few, the dogs at the shelter are the worst dogs to walk. They've been couped up in a 5' x 10' kennel 24/7 with only short breaks so there is a lot of bottled up energy, like a soda can that's been shaken and the tops' just been popped. We walked past "the gauntlet" of other dogs, I've named it thus because all the other still caged dogs bark and lunge at the free dog for whatever reason, and continued out to the road with my little Princess Pokes-a-lot tagging along behind.
The road the shelter is located off of also has some kind of municipal station too, further on down, so there is occasional traffic of trucks but for the most part its' quiet. Both sides of the narrow road have thick, South Carolina brush on each side, reminding me of the rainforest in Ecuador, so when the trucks come past we stand on the shoulder of the road in between fire ant colonies and wait for the coast to clear. On this day, my volunteer partner had decided that she really did not want to walk a big dog after all, so twenty feet outside the parking lot of the shelter, she announced she was done and now wanted to hold a kitty. Okay. Now I have a three year old who has made her final decision on one hand, and a dog strangling herself to go for a walk in the other hand, literally. I just couldn't bring myself to take the dog back already, so I cut a deal. I would run, not walk the dog up to the fire hydrant 100 ft or so up the road and back, done. My little partner reluctantly accepted, and off I went.
I made it down to the hydrant without incident while the dog madly strained forward at the end of the leash. On the return run, I was more focused on the put out expression of my daughter than on the dog, so I was unprepared when all of a sudden it cut across in front of me. I was going full speed and tripped over it, starting this forward stumbling, falling, think I can make, nope, not going to, splat on the road. The dog got loose from my desperate grasp and darted full speed down the road. "Oh no," I thought, " I'm going to be fired as a volunteer." But to my amazement, the dog ran straight back to the shelter and up to one of the employees. As for myself, I slowly got myself upright and surveyed the damage. Ripped jeans, bloody knees, scraped hands, not so bad.
Just then I looked up at a pick-up truck passing by and the man inside grinned and waved. Out of habit, I waved back, slightly less enthused. My daughter waited unfazed for me to limp down to her, because falling is, after all, at least a daily ocurrence for her. Together we walked back to the shelter where I was handed back the leash, believe it or not. Thankfully no one at the shelter had seen the whole thing, so I sucked it up and pretended it was quite normal to have blood dripping down your knee while I walked the dog back to her kennel. Now I just mostly pass the big dogs treats.