Thursday, January 17, 2008

At the End of My Rope:

I have never harbored a fondness for the leash. To me, it represents yet another human attempt to control a creature meant to run free. This sentiment was probably inspired by my first dog: a beautiful collie mix who was loving, trusting and loyal; a friend who wouldn’t leave my side, no matter what. In fact, I can’t recall ever owning a leash for her. Our family adopted her from a farm when I was 4 years old. Shortly after my 18th birthday my house filled with an overwhelming silence, an anomaly resulting from, and accentuated by, the missing sound of her paws on the floor. Though I’m not a fan of them, I do understand the need for a leash in certain circumstances, and I support the numerous leash laws in our county. With the burgeoning population in many areas, comes increased traffic flow. This necessitates the leash being employed for the safety and well-being of our 4 legged friends. It’s a situation somewhat analogous to the seat beat laws: no one likes the wrinkled clothing and bulky straps, but we know they must be endured as they are there to protect us.

Orlando, being exactly like my first dog, is granted the privilege of being “leash free” at any safe opportunity as he will stay close by my side. Conversely, Murphy will accept any such occasion as an opportunity to run off and join the French Foreign Legion for dogs (that is until he discovers an hour later this organization was only a rumor and then promptly returns home, bearing a humble posture). Thus, he must wear a leash but is often allowed to drag it along on his travels (convinced he’s still tethered with it on). LW, like any of my SE puppies, is never permitted off leash by TSE rules. Often, we will take our three dogs for long outings in the woods. On one such foray recently, Orlando trotted along by my side, Murf was given as much freedom as a dragging leash allows and LW was on a 50 foot cord. As the two “leash free” dogs trotted along sniffing and jumping through the tall grass and reeds, LW (who was limited to the range of 50 feet) suddenly comes to an abrupt stop. It appeared she had come to “the end of her rope.”

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