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The Unstoppable Dog

We happen to have this amazing dog, a chocolate lab named after a president (Ike), who pretty much demands no less than our full attention during his waking hours. Even a brief history of our life with him would fill a book, but since I don’t have time to write one, this recent picture will have to suffice:

Like most dogs, walking is his bread and butter, and his style of walking is the kind that will either strengthen or shatter most human shoulderblades that are on the other end of his leash. Basically, he pulls. All. the. time. We found this out when he was a puppy, and eventually found a workable solution in a “choke” collar, a device that would be an instrument of torture if his level of pain tolerance weren’t so high. Anyway, he doesn’t pull too much with the sharp teeth of the choke collar on, unless he sees another dog, or a cat, or a bird, or the wind blows, or a person a couple hundred yards away looks his direction, or a fly sneezes, or…you get the idea.

After nearly two years of doing these shoulder-strengthening exercises, I have developed a physique worthy of a world logging champion:

But, there’s more to life than being a world logging champion, so we have resumed our search for more humane methods of helping Ike slow down, preferably something that doesn’t include sharp self-tightening mechanisms that wrap around his throat. We seemed to have found one in a recent purchase ($31.99 for $1 dollar of nylon and $30.99 of packaging, shipping, and profit) that when installed simply loops two harnesses around him, one in front of his front legs and one behind them.

Somehow, this simple contraption causes him to change from a endlessly-bounding dog into a docile, sheep-like being who is content to walk as slowly and leisurely as one wishes. Evidently that $31.99 was well spent.

Except that now, going out on a walk with him on the new leash doesn’t even feel like walking with the same animal. Somehow, seeing him attempt with each step to infuse his normal energy into walking only to get discouraged by the hampering effects of the harness is a torture of a new kind. It’s like watching his spirit get slowly crushed into submission by a stupid little piece of nylon. Somehow, it seems like the choke collar is the more humane solution. Or, even better, we should just always go to the beach with no leash whatsoever.

2 comments to The Unstoppable Dog

  • now that’s a cute pooch!

    great post. i’m in San Jose for a few days, unfortunately won’t even pretend to think I’d have enough time to swing up your way.

  • Teachiro

    In a world without footballs, the no leash idea would definitely be the way to go. Gotta love Ike.

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