Our dog Shadow adores my wife. And why wouldn’t she? My wife takes her out for extended, off-leash walks along the wooded, creek-lined trails at a local park where Shadow gets to play and romp with other dogs...and where my wife gets to play and romp with other human beings.
She speaks to Shadow in an enthusiastic, energetic manner that makes Shadow feel like her time with my wife is always an exciting adventure.
On the other hand (or paw), Shadow just tolerates me. My primary role is to take her out for the last walk of the day at around 10 p.m., and it’s usually just a quick walk around the block.
To me, it’s a chore, and I’m sure Shadow feels the same way about our nocturnal jaunts around the neighborhood. Unlike my wife, I’m not enthusiastic. I’m not excited. And I certainly don’t turn our nightly walks into any kind of adventure...unless tripping on the sidewalk and scraping half the skin off one’s face could be defined as an adventure.
No, Shadow goes out with me at night because she must. Neither Shadow nor I are particularly happy about this, but she seems resigned to the fact that I have the late night shift. Unless it’s raining...or worse, thundering. Then I literally have to drag her off our porch so she can go out and take care of her “bidness” before settling in for the night.
Up until around a month ago, my wife would pretty much take care of all of the dog walking duties throughout the day, except for the aforementioned nighttime walks. But then, during one of those wooded, creek-lined trail walks with Shadow at that local park, my wife slipped on a wet rock and broke her right wrist. And so, with her “good arm” (she’s right handed) in a cast from above her elbow down to her fingers, it became difficult for her to, among other things, walk Shadow on a leash.
Thus, my dog-walking duties have more than doubled. Now, in addition to walking her right before bedtime each night, I also have to walk her first thing in the morning (usually between 6 and 7 a.m.) and during the day if my wife doesn’t take her to the park because of the weather (she’s not supposed to get her cast wet).
When I am called upon to walk Shadow and she feels that my wife should be walking her, which is most times, she stubbornly refuses to budge. She just sits down and looks at me with those big, brown, sad doggie eyes. I’m sure if she could, she’d strike an attitude pose, put on her best duck-face look, wag a finger at me, and say “Oh no you doh-unt!”
she wears a harness, I can usually drag her, claws scraping, off the porch, but
once down on the ground, she stops. You know those protesters and demonstrators who let their bodies go limp when the cops try to remove them? That’s what Shadow does with me. I can pull her, I can tug her, I can even
attempt to lift her off the ground to try to move her forward...but to no avail.
And that’s when The Jump Starter, aka, my wife, takes over. All my wife has to do is walk out of the house, down the porch steps, and onto our driveway. In her enthusiastic, energetic, excited voice she says, “Let’s go Shadow.”
Shadow immediately jumps up, tail wagging, and happily struts toward the street, pulling me along at the end of her leash. By the time we turn and start walking down the sidewalk, the jump starter has headed back to our house, while Shadow, thinking that her beloved mistress is accompanying us on our walk, merrily trots along.
Eventually, after passing by two or three houses, Shadow will look behind her to see where my wife is. But at that point, the die is cast and Shadow just shrugs her shoulders and continues on her walk, sniffing, peeing, and occasionally pooping along the way.
Both Shadow and I are eager for my wife to have her cast removed and for her to be able to resume her rightful role with Shadow. Unfortunately we are still weeks away from that happening. Yes, her long cast...from above her elbow down to her fingers...was replaced this week by a “short cast.” At least now she can bend her elbow, but there are still limitations as to what she can do with her “good” arm and hand.
So man and beast (aka, me and Shadow) will have to continue to tolerate one another for yet a while longer.
Hair raising experience
But I’m not sure how much longer my wife and I can tolerate one another on those mornings when, because her right arm is in a cast, I have to help her blow dry and style her hair. I think I’d rather walk Shadow during a downpour in a thunderstorm than incur the wrath of my wife due to my lack of hairdressing skills.