A year and a half ago, I decided to channel Cesar Milan and become the family dog whisperer. Once my dog had mastered heel, sit, stay, and come, I turned my attention to the other family canines. After my daughter’s two dogs got into a fight one night, I decided that they needed a pack leader: someone who could help them master “the walk.”
The next morning I showed up at her house armed with 110 pounds of Doberman Pinscher, and oozing confidence from every pore. I saddled up her dogs and stepped out onto the porch. Things started going downhill before I got the door closed.
I was holding a leash in my left hand, attached to an English Mastiff that weighed more than I did, and in my right hand were the leashes for a Doberman and a chow mix. All three dogs were poised to self combust with joy as I carefully negotiated the steps. I wrestled my charges down the driveway and across the street, where they wrapped me up like lights on a Christmas tree. No sooner had I disentangled myself, than the neighbor dogs came galloping at full bark to the fence. I was trying to put the brakes on as three straining canine backsides wobbled in my vision.
Suddenly, I was airborne and watching the pavement rushing up at me. I managed to get my left wrist free of the mastiff leash loop before going for a Nantucket Sleigh Ride across the asphalt. The doctor was impressed that I managed to break my shoulder in three places.
I had been diagnosed with osteopenia a year before and had been dutifully downing daily calcium, but apparently it wasn’t enough to prevent the fracture. This being my first broken bone, I didn’t want to repeat the experiment, so there’s little chance that I’ll move beyond my amateur standing to become a professional dog walker.
Since dog walking is more dangerous than I suspected, and requires more skill and strength than I possessed, I am going to petition the Olympic Committee to make it a recognized event.
The Mastiff Marathon will involve a course complete with small yappy dogs, mailmen, ice cream trucks, and miles and miles of fire hydrants. Contestants are judged on time, style, skill, and the integrity of their skeletal systems after the course. I hear that the Russian judges will mark you down for the number of hydrant stops.
So what if I’ll never win the gold. I have a plaster cast in my trophy case.