Friday, March 05, 2004


I took a couple of days off work this week, my original intent being to get out of town for our anniversary. Since that plan didn't work out, Amy and I decided on the next best thing: we took the two little dogs to the groomer and asked that she take her time with them - about two and a half days. It's a lot quieter in the house.

"I'm still here."

"I was getting to that."

Klondike, our oldest and biggest dog didn't get sent away because he's low maintenance.

"And for the cost of kenneling me you guys could have gone to a motel."

"Did I ask for your comments?"

None of our dogs are what you would call obedient, although all of them went to obedience school. Dog training classes are a lot like private driver's education classes. Pay the money and you graduate. Whether you should be unleashed on society is debatable at best.

"Could I go running without my leash sometime? Huh? Huh? Please?"

Klondike was the class clown in obedience school some 9 years ago. When we were told to walk our dogs in a circle, Klondike would try to drag me to the front of the line of dogs, never realizing that there is no lead dog in a circle.

"We could have won that race if you would have only kept up."

When we'd take a break at obedience class, all the dogs would be walked out to a big trough filled with water for a drink. Klondike would bypass the other dogs and plop himself down in the middle of the water.

"It looked like a pool to me...could we get a pool?"

Inside the house, Klondike is perfect.

"Aw...thanks...can I slurp on your face?"

"Save the slurp, I'm not finished."

But the instant you put a leash on Klondike any sense of compliance is immediately erased from his peanut sized brain.

At that point you have only two options: go for a run, or stock up on bandages because he's going to drag you down the street.

"You wanted exercise right? If you didn't want to run we could have gone in the car. Could we go for a drive in the car? Huh? Huh?"

We've tried a variety of things to break him of this habit including harnesses that were guaranteed to work: the guarantee only applies if you have a dog that allows you to put the harness on him.

"I'm sorry, you can't train me to walk, but you think I'm going to let you put a harness over my face? Which of us has the brain the size of a pecan again?"

"I said peanut, don't flatter yourself."

We've even bought ominous spiked collars that hark back to ancient torture chambers....or San Francisco gift shops.

None of them slowed him down at all.

"But the next time it snows you've got nifty chains for your tires!"

"It doesn't snow here."

Despite that, for some reason today I thought might be different. I figured now that Klondike is getting up in years, he'd be easier to control, so I opted to leave my ten pounds of hand weights at home and instead take 85 pounds of mania on my daily walk.

The leash wasn't even attached to him before we were off and running. He propelled me down the road like we were late for dinner. Forty minutes later we were back at the house. Panting, sweating, and barely able to stand.

Klondike, on the other hand, was fine.

"I'd have made a great sled dog...could we get a sled?"

The adage is true... you can't teach an old fool new tricks.

"That was fun...wanna go again? Huh? Huh? Could we?"