Puppy Bodie had his first vet visit on Monday, unfortunately during a torrential downpour. As the seconds ticked down to the appointment time I worried about whether it was smart for me to drive on the wet and flooded streets. No two ways about it; we were both going to get soaked. “Suck it up”, I said to myself. No one cancels because it’s raining. Yes, I often have full-blown conversations with myself. Doesn’t everyone?
Halfway to the nearby vet’s office a police car came into a major intersection and stopped traffic. Sadly someone had died recently and the procession of mourners drove slowly through the rain. In Florida it is the law that you must stop for funeral processions. Police cars with flashing lights and sirens are hired to stop traffic as well as issue tickets to offenders. The funeral procession was in front of me all the way to the vet’s office, forcing anyone crazy enough to speed through the slick street to slow down. My thoughts went out to the people who were mourning the loss of a loved one, their grief no doubt compounded by problems as a result of the tropical storm.
It was the usual Monday morning chaos at the vet’s office. In spite of the dark sky, blowing wind and heavy rain the place was packed with people who either had to pick up boarded dogs, deal with weekend emergencies or like me, were there for normal shots and questions. I had time to sit, and people and dog watch while waiting my turn.
One of the latest politically correct changes that seemed to appear out of nowhere is the use of harnesses on dogs instead of collars. I watched three dogs of various sizes enter the room with their owners. The dogs wore only harnesses, with leads attached and all three were pulling their owners.
Have you ever heard the term, Nantucket Sleigh Ride? Back in the nineteenth century whalers would harpoon a whale. The whale, in an attempt to flee, would drag their boat at a high rate of speed roughly through the waves until the whale was exhausted and then it was killed. Well, that’s how these dogs behaved. The owners were holding on for dear life, with no control, as the dogs tried to pull them across the small room. Not a pretty sight. Fortunately no one was injured or killed.
At one point a lady with a smaller dog and one of the men grabbed their dogs by the middle of the harness strap that goes along the dog’s back, lifting the dogs a bit off the floor. The dogs became canine suitcases. Hmmm, I wondered if having a dog’s underbelly and spine torqued is not as painful as the use of any kind of collar is purported to be. You’d be proud of me though. I didn’t offer my opinions on the subject. It’s sad that the general public doesn’t know about no-pull harnesses. Also sad that there are fewer and fewer affordable pet classes any more to help educate the public.
Little Bodie snuggled damply in my lap, wearing a small red leather collar. Old age has taught me that I can’t change the world, only my part in the world. I can only lead by example, ignoring PC and training my dogs to behave using what has always worked for me, a regular collar, my voice and lots of love.