This morning, our dog Mersey did what she always does when she sees us grab the harness before a walk. She ran away.
That’s unusual in dog world. Most dogs see you give even the faintest sign that a walk is nigh, and they bound to the door tail a-wagging. And Mersey does love her walks, it’s the harness she claims to dislike. We use it because she can be a pretty strong puller, and the harness helps us control that. When we first introduced it to her as a puppy, she objected, shaking and pawing at it when we first put it on. But in a few moments she’d adjust to it and have a normal walk. After a few days even the early discomfort disappeared. Only the I-won’t-let-you-put-the-harness-on rebellion ritual remained.
She can pull if off because our ground floor has a circular layout from front-door foyer to kitchen to family room and back to foyer. Mersey takes advantage of that when she sees the harness, moving quickly to the open doorway between the kitchen and the family room, then watching us to see which way we’re going. Of course we try to preempt this by surprising her with the harness before our hand has been tipped that it’s walk time. But sometimes we fail. If both my wife and I are involved, we’ll take opposite directions to close in on her. Another option is to shut the door between the kitchen and family room to create a dead end. As we close in, Mersey recognizes she’s trapped and is pretty quick to concede, standing still while we slip on and snap in the harness.
Then she’s an obedient girl, scurrying to the door in exaggeratedly awkward form, head down, legs stiff. At the door she sits unmoving until the door opens, when she magically transforms back into her public persona as a fluid, shapely, upbeat greeter of all comers.
She likes to play games, but she knows when the jig is up.
She can be available free of charge to advise our lame-duck President Trump should he need help in such matters.
Photo at top of page: By conceding to put on her harness this morning, Mersey was able to enjoy peak foliage and unusual 70-degree temperatures in Rochester’s Highland Park.