Saturday, November 24, 2007

How (Not) To Walk Seven Dogs

(Images copyright 2007, Mama Pajama Tells A Story, 2nd edition, W F Renzulli, MD illustrator.)

The following is an excerpt (copyright protected, of course) from a story in my book.

Terrie was right.

She said it wouldn't work. But it seemed like it should work.

I came up with this Great Idea. The dogs were pulling me down. Literally. We’d be out walking, enjoying life, and some stinking squirrel, or rabbit, deer, groundhog, fox, figment of Opie’s imagination, whatever would take off down the path ahead of us, and the six whippets would simultaneously accelerate. It is hard to stay upright and hold on to six leads when one hundred and eighty pounds of Whippets go from two to thirty mph and you’re not expecting it. Shoot, it’s hard to do it when you are expecting it, but at least you can sit down.

I had started wearing a hefty belt outside of my coat, and affixing Giacomino’s lead to it. He was recovering from orthopedic surgery, and he simply could not run loose. So my Great Idea was to make special three to four foot long leads that would snap to heavy brass rings on the hefty belt. That way, the dogs couldn’t pull the leads out of my hands when they took off. And because the leads would be attached to my waist, my center of gravity would be lower. It was a Great Idea!

I told Terrie about it the next day at work. She looked up from her computer at me with disbelief. She didn’t think my Great Idea was so great. “I think you’ll be in trouble if some critter takes off and your dogs go after it,” she said. I explained the beauty of the Great Idea was that, what with my lower center of gravity and all, they wouldn’t be able to get me going. I could dig in my heels, quite literally, and all would be well. Terrie shook her head in her quiet way. “I don’t think it’s such a good idea,” she said, turning back to her computer.

I walked that way for about a week. There were a few close calls, but I remained on my feet, and no dogs got loose. I arrived at the office fairly beaming. “This is the Best Idea I’ve ever had,” I crowed. “I need to find a way to market this so everyone can walk all their dogs at once.”
I heard Terrie muttering that she just didn’t think it was a good idea at all.

So I’m walking all the dogs, on a lovely morning before work, congratulating myself for my Brilliant Idea. I turned the corner at the edge of the woods. There is a slight decline there, as the tractor road dips down for about a hundred yards until it turns gradually left into the woods.

I felt the speed even before I saw the rabbit. I was somehow flying. Or, not quite. I was running like the Six Million Dollar Woman: going about twenty or twenty-five miles per hour, with each stride getting longer and longer until each foot would only touch down every fifteen feet or more. I was screaming, “No, no, no, no, oh stop, no, no, no, ahhhhhhhhhh,” but the Whippets didn’t hear any of it. They were six dogs who were one. Because of the belt, I couldn’t fall down. It was like I was water-skiing or on one of those flying kites behind a boat. And we kept increasing in speed.

We had already covered the hundred yards and were turning into the woods. The stupid bunny just kept running straight down the tractor road ahead of us. It could have turned into the woods and disappeared, but noooooooooooo, it just kept running straight in front of the six Whippets and the Six Million Dollar Woman, and I swear to you, dear readers, I swear to you, at this point we were going at least, at least thirty miles an hour.

Now I’m not a particularly religious person. It’s been years since I set foot in a church. But as we entered the woods, I felt my both hands waving way up above my head. Every finger wiggling like so much wheat on a windy day. And I heard a humble little Patience voice, crying out loud, “Oh, Sweet Jesus, help me!”
The next thing I remember is wondering why on Earth I had decided to take a nap in a wild rose bush. I was lying about five feet into the woods, with my face smack up against a multiflora rose. For those lucky readers who’ve never been up close and personal with a wild rose bush, well, that’s what they use in Ireland to keep bulls away from the cows. They make barbed wire look like dental floss. There were six contrite little Whippets looking down at me, each one saying, “It wasn’t me.
No ma’am. It wasn’t me at all. I wasn’t even here. I just got here to see if I could help you. Could you move away from the roses, though?” Only dear Giacomino, who was licking the blood from the rose stickers in my chin, Giacomino with the worry wrinkles said, “Oh boy, are you all right?”

When I got to the office that morning, I was about twenty minutes late. But I had some Show And Tell as an excuse. I said, “Terrie. I have something to show you. You know how you said that the Whippet Attachment Belt was a Bad Idea? Terrie, you were right.” And I showed them my pants. There was dirt and grass stain from the back of the calves to the waist. And I showed them my shirt. There was dirt and grass and leaves and rose stickers from the back clear up to the collar, and inside the right sleeve. And I showed them my bra. There was dirt and grass and leaves and stickers and holes and blood just all over it.

“Oh, my,” exclaimed Terrie and Cheryl and husband Bill.

And then, I pulled down my scrub pants. I carefully, gingerly, pulled down the right side of my white cotton bikini briefs. I had a hematoma the size of Toledo, Ohio on my butt.

“Oh, my!” cried Terrie, Cheryl and Bill.

Terrie was right.



  1. Hey, muzzer can't walk two of us, so she says you are tremendously brave for even trying that.

    kissies on the owie

  2. ROFL, Pee.. You're the bestest! :D Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

    Ane & the WriggleButts

  3. We love to take mom for fast runs like that but there are only 2 of us! Boy, you must have been flying! How long before that hematoma disappeared?!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  4. /Users/susankirkham/Desktop/Wonder/WW5.jpg
    I just had to see if I could add a picture.... we shall see! Susan

  5. I've always loved this story from the first time I read it. Reminds me of my episode roller blading with my dogs and not seeing the bunny first...

  6. Thank you fow that wondewful laugh you gave us! my Mommi once walked hew thwee tewwiews at once, and they'we no whippet in speed, but they make up fow it in stubbown pulling all in diffewent diwections...she says people just used to shake theiw heads, as if to say "thewe goes that cwazy lady" it's just me and it's about all she can handle, hehehe..I'm so glad Lindylou and I awe the same age..
    smoochie kisses to all of you and a special one fow hew

  7. Always one of my favorite stories,Patience. Happened to me w/2 IWs and a poodle they wanted to visit!-Martha and P-Doggy

  8. that's a hilarious story. we would love to do that to our mom, but she is Afraid. she knows that something bad would happen with the 4 of us all leashed with her at one time. we think it would be fun.


  9. Thanks so much for all the thoughts & prayers. The boys all for doing well in their new homes & my Mona is still with me. I have a much better and have gone back to work.

    Good Bless.....the Mommy

  10. Hi ya Friends! wow whata trip mom will only take two of us at a time cos we tangle and pull and lose our doggie minds when another doggie is comming at us! You mommy is brave sorry for her boo boo's

    Tx trio wagging tails & barking loud!

  11. Hi Patience, my copy of the book arrived a couple of days ago - thanks very much! I'm in the middle of a couple of others, and being male I can't multi-task very well, so I've passed it to my mother for her to read first. What's the betting I'm ready for it before she's finished it...!


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