I take three dogs for a walk and ask myself, “Why?”

Three dogs? Really?

I woke up this morning but my brain apparently stayed asleep because I had the brilliant idea that I would take the dogs for a walk in the park.

All three of the dogs. At the same time.

My plan was to head to Tinker Nature Park in Henrietta, where I could let Scout and Bandit some leeway on 10 ft. leads and work a bit with Bailey on her regular leash. This is not new for Scout and Bandit.

So I loaded up the pups, and we headed out. Yes, the dogs were excited. Very excited.

The first problem arose when we got to the park and I saw the huge sign: NO DOGS OR PETS IN PARK.

Dang it.

Well, as long as I was in the area, I figured I’d go to the credit union. I went in, dogs stayed in the car. (But I did go get Bailey so she could say hello.)

Plan B: head to the canal path near Lock 32. Not as much room to roam, but the goal was to get out, smell some new smells, and enjoy the sun.

Why I thought putting Scout and Bandit on 10 ft leads was a good idea is beyond me right now. But in the  moment, it seemed like a good idea. I mean, we usually walk with them on long leads. They know what to do.

But this was a new park and the first canal walk of the season and we had another dog with us, and like I already said, my brain was still asleep.

Picture this: three leads, three dogs, two of which are headed in different directions, one tugging on whatever leash is nearest her mouth, and one Mommy sprawled on the ground with three leads wrapped around her legs.

It was chaos with fur. Scout and Bandit were frantic to pee on every tree, shrub and blade of grass. Bailey was engaged in a very serious game of tug. I had absolutely not control over any of the dogs.

What was I thinking? Two dogs? Yes. We do Scout and Bandit on the canal all of the time. But three? A puppy who isn’t even leash trained?

I wrangled everyone back into the car and headed home (with a brief stop at my sister’s to say hello to the daycare kids. Again, chaos.) with one thought on my mind: what have I done?

Am I being fair to the dogs by adding Bailey to the pack? To myself? To Murphy (whose Bailey-inflicted bare spot on his head is healing nicely, thank you very much)? Can these dogs be happy in this situation?

As I write, Murphy is curled up on my left arm as I type. Scout is curled up in the recliner, sound asleep. Bandit is lying at the top of the stairs, keeping watch on the household. And Bailey is snoring away at my feet.

Maybe I just tried too much today. Yes, that’s definitely it. But I worry that I may not be able to “take the dogs” for a walk anymore, that walking the dogs may mean that one stays home, or one goes and two stay home, but that either way someone is left out.

I remember how overwhelmed I was when Bandit came; he was definitely a handful. Today, I wouldn’t dream of life without my little devil dog.

 Bailey, on the other hand, is picking up the pack rules pretty darned quick. When she’s unsure, she just looks to see what Scout and Bandit are doing and follows suit. She’s learned “give me our paw” in minutes, just by watching to see what her brothers. She comes to her name, focuses on me, sleeps all night (although she is a bed hog). Maybe I just had a bad leash day and need to focus on the good stuff.

Like three dogs and a cat who understand the command “Sleepy Nap Time” but need work on walking nicely as a pack. I’m overwhelmed, but feeling puppy-loved.

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