Monday, August 8, 2011

The Red Harness

It has been a long-lived opinion of mine that canines need harnesses for walks. That's right. Need. For dogs that pull their leads, harnesses can prove successful in correcting the problem. If you own a canine with spinal cord injuries, this walking equipment may help by better supporting your four-legged companion's back. Although, I, personally have never tested that theory!! With Rose, purchasing a harness has allowed me complete control during our walks over my headstrong girl. She has never pulled on her leash. Not unless there is an occasional feline in the way!! But even then, she seldom attempts to dislocate my shoulder by yanking and jerking with all of her strength!! In Rose's case, it is more the opposite that's true. Allow me to explain: I do not yank or jerk my mongrel. Never. However, when she absolutely refuses to budge during 9:55 PM walks because fireworks might explode somewhere--even though it is August and they have mostly stopped--I gently, yet firmly, pull her. And each muscle within Rose's neck stubbornly tenses up. I have worried that our very physical "game" of tug of war will hurt her neck. Besides, what if Rose's head slips out the collar? So off to Wal-Mart we drove. And scribbled upon my list was a dog harness. There are certainly several options to chose from these days!! Not a problem. I knew exactly what we were looking for!! A basic nylon step-in harness!! Yep. Just simple!! Nothing heavy-duty, or fancy. Wal-Mart was selling these harnesses in only twain colors: Red and blue. That's it?! Of course I bought red.... My favorite color. And Rose instantaneously objected to the idea of wearing it!! Really?! As we tried the harness on and adjusted it to fit her unique size, Rose rolled over!! Like she was "asking" for a belly rub!! The next thing we realized, her harness was unadjusted, and twisted around Rose's body!! I laughed. What else was I to do? I laughed so hard that my abdomen muscles hurt!! Somehow, we adjusted the harness to size. I gave Rose a baby carrot and walked her. She still seemingly objects to the idea of wearing this thing. I will cheerfully sing out: "Ready to go for a walk?", show her the harness and Rose runs from me!! Seriously!! This has become somewhat of a game for us!! I ask the question. I show Rose her harness. She flees. I smile at its hilarity. I unsnap the harness's buckle and lead Rose toward me. Occasionally, she rolls on her back. I then spoil Rose with belly scratches. I entice my Beagle mix with a treat. She immediately stands up. I fasten the harness. I praise Rose. As resulted, her tail happily wags. I give Rose a baby carrot. I link the leash. Repeat three times daily!! Or more!! Sometimes I feel like a dog catcher, wrangling that harness over Rose's head!! And she has compensated quite well. Now it's her shoulder muscles that tense up!!

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