A short anecdote about walking the dog

January 8, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 8, 2016

One afternoon late in December 2015, my parental unit, Lucky the yellow Labrador retriever and I were strolling around my parent’s neighborhood.

My parent has hired a trainer to conduct regular sessions with Lucky. This is by necessity: Lucky is an energetic eight-year-old who weighs more than 60 pounds and is by far the largest canine my parent has ever had custody of. In turn, my parent has trained me how to work with the dog.

Usually when I walk with Lucky, I’ll hold the end of her leash with my right hand and some treats in my left hand. In cold weather, my right hand is typically gloved. My left hand is not, because I don’t particularly like to get the nice Italian leather gloves that Lady X bought for me on one of her international trips covered with dog slobber, no matter how much I love the dog. (Also, I find it difficult to prevent Lucky from taking more than one treat from my begloved fingers.) Often, I’ll grip a portion of the leash loosely with my left hand.

When I say, “Heel,” Lucky responds by turning her gaze toward me and watching intently until I give her the treat she expects and so greatly desires. In this case, I called heel on a preternaturally warm December afternoon as we happened to be passing by a house where two men were chatting on either the front lawn or the driveway of a house.

One of the men observed Lucky trotting obediently beside me, eyes fixed on my face. “Boy,” he said. “That dog must really love you.”

I laughed. “No,” I replied. “The dog likes me. But she really loves food, and she knows I’ve got some.”

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