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Posts Tagged ‘leash’

So, my mother-in-law has a dog.  Scratch that, she has a daughter who happens to be a dog.  No, she has a partner, who happens to be a dog.  The point is, my mother-in-law has a dog that is very, very important to her.  She has been divorced for eight or nine years, and as far as I can tell has no interest in getting into another relationship.  This dog is the closest thing to a relationship that I have seen her in.  I don’t say this to be mean, but I am simply attempting to set the stage for the importance of this dog to my mother-in-law.  She is a mix, but with a lot of Cairn Terrier.  The dog’s name is Annabelle.

Not Annabelle, but a pix that looks like her.  Just imagine this dog black, mixed with white hairs.

Not Annabelle, but a pix that looks like her. Just imagine this dog black, mixed with white hairs.

In October, she wanted to visit our family.  She requested to bring Annabelle.  I said, no.  It’s not that I have a problem with little cat-sized dogs.  Scratch that, I do have a problem with little cat-sized dogs, but the stories that I heard about Annabelle did not impress me.  When my wife visited them over the summer, Annabelle barked and growled at my kids.  I found this unacceptable, so she was not allowed in my home.  This did not go over well, but I did not budge on the safety of my children.  So, when we visited them for Christmas, I was very curious how things were going to go with this dog.

Annabelle barked and growled at my kids, my wife, and me.  Unacceptable.  This dog needs to be trained.  This dog needs discipline.  I will tame this dog.  I knew it would be better for everyone if this dog was friendly to my family, but I also felt that I was the Dog Whisperer, and the only thing this wild mutt needed was a little taste of me.  By Christmas day, Annabelle no longer barked or growled at me, nor my wife.  The kids were still an issue, but now I could tell her to stop, and there was a chance she would listen.  My mother-in-law even stated, “I knew you would be able to control her.”  Darn tootin’.  ‘Cause I’m the Dog Whisperer.

On Christmas day, the house was in chaos.  Mother-in-law was in the kitchen cooking.  My wife was sick in bed.  The cousins and brother-in-law were playing in the snow, and sister-in-law was caring for my wife.  Annabelle needed to be walked.  I volunteered, after all, she and I were friends now.

She was leashed and we were off on our walk, or closer to a run.  I see a guy drive by and all I could think was, “This is not my dog, dude.  I would never own a little dog like this.”  Then, she started pulling on the leash as if she had somewhere to be and she was late.  This dog needs to be trained, I thought.  I pulled the leash and told her to stop.  She kept pulling.  Her leash got tangled.  Served her right.  I decided to enter a tennis court, remove her leash and set her straight.  We walked into the fenced-in court, trudging through snow taller than her.  I took the leash off, thinking, even if she runs a little, we are in a fenced-in tennis court, so where could she go?  The leash is off, and she bolts away through the small opening in the tennis court fence. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no …”

I yell, “Annabelle COME!”  She stops.  I exhale.  OK, now, nice and calmly, “Annabelle, come.”  She doesn’t move.  She just stares at me.  She is about 10 feet away, but she might as well be 10 miles.  I need her to come to me so that I can get the leash back on.  I take a step towards her and she runs away another 10 feet.  “Annabelle COME!”  She stops.  She stares at me.  I stare at her.  I take another step.  She runs away another 10 feet.  I stop.  I stare.  She stares.

She stares back as if to say, I’ve got to do this.

No, you don’t have to do this.

I have to do this.

This does not end well for either one of us, Annabelle.

I stare.  She stares.  And with a wink, I swear I saw a wink, she takes off running.  I run after her while continuously screaming ANNABELLE!  And as I am running, I can’t help but think, why is this little dog’s name Annabelle?  Why couldn’t I be yelling Butch, or Hank, I’d even settle for a Sam, a name that could go either way, but I’m yelling through the streets of Minneapolis, Annabelle.  I can’t go out like this.

Then out of nowhere, a huge dog runs out into the street towards Annabelle, probably named Butch or Spike, or something like that.  No, no, no, no, no, no, no,… ANNABELE!! COME!! Luckily the owners of the big dog come out of the house and reign in their manly dog, but of course they hear me screaming Annabelle and running down the street.  “It’s not my dog, but can you grab her!?!”  Annabelle takes off running, straight for a very, very busy street.  No, no, no, no, no, no, no … All I could think of was, “Today is Christmas.  I can’t kill my mother-in-law’s dog on Christmas.” Cars drive passed, but she makes it across safely.  I see the house up ahead.  She is clearly heading home.  I get my cell phone out of my pocket.  I call my brother-in-law.  “Please help me get Annabelle.  She is loose and heading towards the house.  If at all possible, please be discrete.”

I finally make it back to the house.  I see my brother-in-law, and he gives me the thumbs up.  That could have went all kinds of bad.  I get to the backyard, and Annabelle starts barking up a storm at me.  My brother-in-law informs me that no one knows a thing.  Good man.  I walk into the house, up the stairs and into our room.  My wife is still in bed.  I am wheezing.  I pull out my inhaler and take a hit.  “Is everything OK?” my wife asks.  “Just the cold air”, I respond.

I return to the back yard.  Annabelle barks at me.

I thought, you and I are going for  a walk.  You are going to come to me and I am going to put this leash on you.  Then, we are going for a walk.  I’ve owned dogs that would eat you for breakfast.  We are going for a walk.  “Annabelle, come.” She stops barking and stares at me.  “Annabelle, come.”  She takes a step towards me.  I bend down, I put the leash out in front of me and calmly, but sternly say, “Annabelle, come.”  She walks to my hand, I grab her by the collar and hook her to the leash.  We went for a walk.  She did not pull, she did not run, she never let the leash go tight.  She never barked nor growled at me again.  She still barked at my kids, but we will work on that next time, but at my house.

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You ever forget that it was Valentine’s day? Or your anniversary? Or your girlfriend’s birthday?  If so, you have ended up at a florist five minutes before they closed.  At this time, you will see a group of guys huddled around a refrigerator looking for the last remaining rose to appease their partner.  It’s a supportive group of people.  We encourage each other.  We commiserate, and we share our own personal stories, “Forgot my wife’s birthday.”  The other man replies, “Anniversary.”  The two men exchange glances as if to say, “I’m here for you buddy.”  I call this the Doghouse Club.  A time and place where you will never be judged, always supported, and always forgiven by those who have been there.  A place where you could probably get a hug from a complete stranger and a “There there”.  I found a new time and location for the Doghouse Club, a gas station on Christmas Day.  Where you can buy a bag of chocolate chips for five bucks, but be consoled by another man with his story of forgetfulness, “I forgot the meat for dinner.  The wife was not happy.”  We exchanged glances as if to say, “I’m here for you buddy” and I wished him a Merry Christmas.  I would’ve given him a hug too, if he asked for one.  I’m just sayin’ …

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