Thursday, April 02, 2009


So, despite still living in a funk, I had quite a bit of fun this past weekend. Even through the drizzle and the clouds and the rain. On Saturday, I kept my promise and got Casey out in her harness where she got to earn her keep. I couldn't get a picture of me on the bike with her (for obvious reasons) but I did get a picture of Casey in her harness.

As you can see from her overall demeanor, Casey apparently mistook "harness" for "straight-jacket" because she was walking really gingerly for a few minutes. She was obviously unsure as to what on earth mom had in store for her. However, once I opened the door to go out, she quickly forgot what was on her back and focused on "out." When mom lets her out without her "good dog collar" it obviously means Crown Hill where she gets to run to her heart's content. She was a happy dog.

The boy rode my bike to Crown Hill and I drove with the dogs. When we got there, we found a lengthy stretch of road that was deserted and mostly straight. I took the bike and gave the boy Blue to look after. Then I hooked Casey's harness up to a flat leash, said my prayers, and got on my bike.

It went marvelously. At first Casey was obviously confused as to what the hell was going on, but she caught on quickly. "Oh you want me to PULL? No problem mom!" She got me going terrifyingly fast at one point, which is where I learned the other reason why Casey is so good at this. She's really really good with verbal commands. You don't even have to use words she knows. She just sort of reads your tone. Or at least, she can read MY tone. When she got me going really fast, I just had to say "easy" or "Casey" in a terrified cautioning tone of voice, and she slowed down. When I was encouraging her "suchagoodgirl!Caseyisagoodgirl!Who'smystronggirl?" she would pull and pull and pull. Seriously. Awesome.

However, I am still Emily, and I am still not 100% confident on my bike, so when we had to turn around and return to the car, I would stop Casey, get off the bike, turn around and then head back. During one of our return trips, a solitary car passed us on our stretch of road. The woman driving shot me an incredulous look and I saw the brake lights flash once she had passed us. I assumed she was just surprised at the stupidity of the short girl on the bike that's about half an inch too tall for her, being pulled by a pit bull who was obviously about half a second away from bolting into the woods and breaking every bone in the bike rider's body. I mean, I know I would have been. If you didn't know Casey and the joy on her face, you would have thought she was crazed. Seriously. She LOVED the pulling.

I was actually sort of proud of us for not swerving into the grass when a car passed us. I just got Casey to slow down a bit, and kept an eye on when the car was coming. Casey didn't even freak out about the large vehicle passing us. For a second it seemed like she wanted to race it. "What, you think I can't go that fast, mom? Watch this!!"

Um, no.

So we continued on our path and thought nothing of it. Until the same car came back towards us. And this time, the driver's side window was on my side. And this time, the window rolled down and the lady driving shouted, "That's DOG CRUELTY! YOU ARE ABUSING YOUR DOG!!" and then drove off.

Which of course had the effect of making Emily wobble on her bike and then fall over. But at least I fell onto the grass, and at least I had the presence of mind to let go of Casey's leash so that she didn't get jerked to a jarring halt I didn't get dragged for 10 feet. Once on the ground I started to giggle. And then it was full on hysterics. Casey wasn't quite sure what to make of me. Of course she felt the pressure lessen when I let go of her leash, so she had turned around to see what happened. She ended up licking the tears of laughter off of my face. I sure hope the lady saw that in her rearview mirror.

Of all the things I've had shouted at me while I'm with my dogs, "Dog Cruelty" is a new one. And it didn't happen when I was yelling "Casey Goddamnit!" while jerking her collar because she lunged after another dog/squirrel/person. It didn't happen when I was physically dragging my dogs (by the neck) away from something gross on the street that they wanted to eat. It didn't happen when I'm yelling at Casey to GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT!!! No, it happened when Casey was loving every single minute of the new fun game that mom created.

I couldn't help but laugh.

The leash attaches to the harness on Casey's back. The harness itself goes around the front of Casey's chest and is secured with straps that go around her stomach and waist. Which means that when she's pulling, she's pulling with her chest. (Note: I never would have done this with a collar around her neck. I promise I'm not that dumb.) Now, she's not as stocky as Blue, but her chest, it is not small, and it is not without muscular definition. I don't have a great picture of her, but here she is "talking back" to me, and you can kind of see what I mean. She's leaner than a pit bull, so she's obviously mixed with something, but she's got that muscular chest and leaner waist. And her rear legs are just as strong. My boss's wife makes fun of Casey's badonkadonk butt. So I had no qualms about letting her pull me. If she had seemed to be struggling, I would have given up with no issue. It's not like I had a whip and I was yelling "Mush! Mush!" Casey was pulling of her own free will. It's not like I made my lazy more sedate dog do this exercise. Blue was perfectly content to watch from the sidelines. Besides, I don't think he would have pulled at all. He would have tried to lick the bike. And then where would I be?

And after pulling the boy a couple of times, and then pulling me some more, I learned that when Casey is tired of pulling, she's perfectly content to run alongside the bike until mom wants to go home. I swear that dog would run all day long if I asked her to. Luckily, I'm not in great shape, so we were both done at about the same time. And then Casey slept the rest of the afternoon. On top of her mom. Who was also asleep.

Dog cruelty indeed.


alisa said...

It's awesome to let your dog do stuff like that and equally thrilling when you realize how much fun they are having.

A certain dog from my past used to pull us around on our roller blades (which you may have witnessed at our old apt complex). And that dog has never been more happy in his life.

You should see if the boy can take pictures of the two of you next time :)

AnnD said...

I am jealous you have a well-behaved dog who actually follows commands.

I can't believe someone yelled that at you! What a lunatic!

Candace said...

I LOVED reading your story, it was just as good as when you told it to me in person. Can you imagine if I was out there having my cat pull wouldn't that be a sight? Perhaps that would constitute animal cruelty!

Farmerspice said...

O.M.G. Animal Cruelty?? Seriously? Wow! I'm so glad you had fun and that Casey was good and loved it!! That is oh so awesome! Keep working at it and you both will be so comfortable. Animal cruelty. Ha! Crazy lady. Now if it were little Betty pulling you...that might be cruelty.

Moore said...

I can't believe someone would look at your dog, who clearly looks like she can take care of herself, and think that you would even be capable of abusing her. People are odd.