We entered the Humane Society to find a line of people waiting to request a dog to walk. Like us, they had come with someone else—a friend, cousin, roommate. Apparently, dog walking is a social event. Who knew?
A volunteer behind the desk asked what dog was preferred and, like a barista in a coffee shop, matched people up with what they ordered. The young couple in front of us asked for Lola, a black lab. The volunteer took an ID and placed it behind Lola’s name on a chart on the wall. The couple moved to the backdoor to greet their dog.
After some paperwork, we looked at a catalog of all the dogs in the facility. My daughters picked Fitz, a blonde terrier that had been found at a farm site.
The Humane Society requires two leashes—one for the parent, one for the child—to be attached to the dog’s collar when children walk dogs. I kept hold of Fitz, but let Melisandra and Corrigan lead the dog. They took their responsibility quite seriously. They also bickered about who was in charge of the leash. Their “it’s my turn” banter could have seriously ruined my good deed mood. Thus, I declared a rule of holding the leash for five-minute intervals. Problem solved.
Fitz walked alongside us without any fuss or rebellion. I don’t think he’s a graduate of any obedient school; he’s just an agreeable guy. He panted under the hot sun. He stopped to sniff the grass. But mostly, he walked on the trail and let the girls go on with their bickering and worrying without any concern of his own. He made our job easy.
Upon our return, my daughters asked if we could adopt a dog of our own. I let pet adoption scenarios run through my mind, too. All those dogs (and cats) looked so darned cute wagging their tails and pawing at the toys in their cage. I imagined surprising my husband with the German shepherd puppy we saw out on the trail with someone else. I imagined that puppy being all wiggles and smiles when we’d return home. And ooh, wouldn’t it be fun to bring that puppy with us to the lake or out to my parents’ farm? But then, I thought about dog hair on our clothes. Vet bills. And poop. Lots of poop. Little brown surprises by the corner lamp. And under the dining table.
I told the kids no. And their begging didn’t last long. For now, I explained, we’ll get our dog-loving fix when we come here.