My damn dog has been going on her own excursions when I let her out to pee at 6am. It's not good when the neighbor shows up at the door at 7am and I'm still in my boxers holding my steaming second cup of French Roast...I hear a noise on the deck and think, "ah ha, bad dog returns." Only to see a sneering neighbor, who acts astonished at my state of undress and is quick to admonish me for my lack of concern for this ten and a half year old runaway that we call Naja.
Now that the roads are thawed and the eight o'clock temps are above 40, Naja knows that I am much more likely to go on a morning bicycle jaunt (which doesn't include her) than accompany her on a walk to Benner Creek. We both need our daily constitutional but, do we really have to get every dose of exercise in tandem? My wife is ready to start training a new puppy, even though she's only home three or four days a week.
My twenty year run as "Labrador father" has left me a little sour on the notion of continuing with a third four-legged animal. I absolutely love riding my bicycle, even if it's a little two mile run to work, and it feels so much better when I'm not towing a seventy-five pound dog in a twenty-five pound bicycle trailer.
This Black Lab is 73 years old, for God's sake, can't she be satisfied with a morning patrol around the property line? She's got at least three acres to work with. During our bicycle/trailer sojourns to work I let her run a third of the way and then order her to "Load-up" which she does every time. She no longer runs away from the bicycle shop...she's acts as if she is fitted with a shock collar at this downtown location...never wandering beyond the borders of our business lots.
I trust her to do the right thing during our seven and a half hour work detail. She greets customers without discriminating between the poor and the wealthy, the clean and the smelly...even though I know she really enjoys the smelly ones, and she doesn't act territorial when customers bring in their own animals.
She really has been the perfect shopdog, but for her, retirement is not too far away...me, on the other hand, I want to work for another ten years. Ok, ok...maybe there is a new Labrador in my future, we're going to have to train the next one to not embarrass me in front of the neighbors.