Friday, December 1, 2023

Sled Dog


Charly spent many weeks as a puppy at my parent’s cottage in the prairies when it was winter – an early and heavy winter.  She loved the snow.  She loved stealing one of my red 2010 Olympic mittens off my hand and giving chase…turning and darting by me…taunting.  She was small enough at first that I didn’t need a leash for her – I could outrun her even in heavy winter boots.  I could grab that mitten and then a tug of war ensued.  She could get a lot of exercise running in that deep snow…that meant I could get more sleep.  But, slowly, she started to out run me and we had to use the leash in the yard and on the frozen lake.  Charly was terrible on that leash…so driven and excited – having tasted freedom.  My dad nicknamed her Sled Dog.  Sled Dog never totally accepted any leash. 

When my daughter was born, I started using a waist leash so I could push the stroller and also exercise Charly.  Sometimes we’d run together using that waist leash.  My weight kept her in check, though she pulled me off balance enough times for me to always watch for her triggers so I wouldn’t get bowled over.  Years later when she was 11, I was harnessing my old Sled Dog with the waist leash for a walk, and it broke right at the part where my belt joins the stretchy part of her leash.  In haste to get the morning routine underway, I connected it with a cookie-bag twist tie that was handy and hung onto the top of the stretchy part just in case.  Why did I attach that twist tie?  I honestly don’t know…because for thousands of walks we’ve been habitually harnessed to each other?  And now, that twist tie has held for over a year and a half.  I laugh to myself – all that we need is a wire to stay connected now.  Sled Dog has finally retired.

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