... Or, How I Came to Walk Scout Before I Walk Molly and Axel. But "super dog" has a better ring to it, don't you think? Dog walks. It sounds like a simple enough activity: attach leashes to dogs on one end, your hand on the other, and proceed to put one foot in front of the other. But add in one slightly grumpy 90-pound dog, one extremely exuberant 50-pound puppy, and one overly neurotic ten pound dog all pulling in opposite directions and/or barking like a crazy thing (Molly) and the task becomes decidedly less simple. The solution was obvious: I needed to walk in shifts, taking one or two dogs and then the remaining dog(s). The first day I attempted this was a utter fail.
I decided that I would talk Molly and Axel together so that I could ensure that Molly's bad habits would not rub off on our impressionable young pup; Axel being rather set in his ways and not so easily influenced. Scout would walk by himself because he tends to be calmer on his own, and he was in obedience class at the time and could benefit from the extra training time. So off I set one summer evening, Axel and Molly in tow. Scout was less than pleased. He was convinced that I was leaving without him and he would not get a walk this day. As I rounded the corner of the house, Scout ran to the master bedroom, jumped up on the bed, and pounded on the window. Which was, unfortunately, open. I stood outside, shouting for Mom and trying to force my frozen muscles to move my body back into the house. While I stood there watching, Scout pushed the screen out of the window and almost fell out. My heart skipped a beat, but he recovered and managed not to fall out. You can imagine my relief. Followed by my utter dismay when Scout took a look out the (second story) window, figured, "I can make that," and proceeded to JUMP OUT THE WINDOW. He went flying, like some sort of super dog, out the window. My heart stopped. I had visions of Buddy jumping off the garden retaining wall and injuring his wrist and how that was the beginning of the end for him. I was sure that jumping out of the window would have some kind of dire consequences for Scout. He landed behind the trailer and I stood without breathing for half a second, waiting for the worst to happen. What actually happened was that Scout ran out in front of the trailer and came bounding up to me, as if to say, "Well? What are we waiting for? Let's go!" My relief was immeasurable.
That he was uninjured was a miracle. That he was unfazed was somewhat disturbing. What, after all, was to stop him from jumping out the window again? This then, is how I came to walk Scout before I walk Molly and Axel, in hopes of draining off some of his energy before he sees me walk off without him. This is also, incidentally, how I came to be even more anxiety ridden than I already was, which is saying a lot. Prior to all walks now we shut every window, every door, lock all doors to the outside, and insist that anyone coming or going does so through the garage, which means there are two doors for the dogs to get through before they can gain any access to the outdoors. These precautions afford me a small measure of comfort but as I am about as neurotic as Molly, it doesn't afford much.