This week, it hasn’t been much of a secret that we’ve been trying to get back into our walking routine and get the Idita Walk started off on the right foot. Sunday, we got a ton of snow dumped on us, but we weren’t going to miss the first day of the walk. Monday, it was really cold on top of the mountains of snow, but Bunny, Flattery and I made a thirty five minute trek through the tundra anyway.
I made a mental list Monday of the things I should have dug out for us to wear and didn’t, like long underwear, dog boots and Yak Trax. Since Flattery had acted like her corn was bothering her on Sunday, I put her Therapaw boot on Monday afternoon before we left the house, reasoning that putting it on before she got snow and ice between her toes could only be a good thing. She hobbled along the entire walk on her other three feet, even after I loosened the boot and checked to be sure it was on right. Methinks we might have a wee drama queen on our hands.
Tuesday, Mother Nature decided to have a little more fun with me. It got just warm enough that the ice on the roads turned to slush. This meant no Yak Trax and no boots for the girls, because I didn’t want them to get all wet and make the girls miserable in them. I had my long underwear on and soon began to feel like a snowman on a hot day. If only I could melt a few pounds away, alas, it was not to be.
Throughout it all, one thing remained a constant. Flattery was not a happy camper. When one member of the party is not a happy camper, you can all quickly become rather unhappy. Sunday, she didn’t like getting wet in the snow. Monday, she didn’t like the boot or the ice. Tuesday, well, I have no idea what her problem was, but she pulled Blueberry’s old jackass routine on me the entire length of the walk. Flattery kept walking slower and slower, until she was as far behind us as she could get, with the leash threatening to sever my hand off at the wrist.
Each and every attempt to convince her to hurry up and walk with Bunny and I was met with even more mulish behavior. If I tried to hurry her up to walk between us, she began hopping on her foot. Now the foot might be more sensitive to cold, but I have checked and rechecked and right now, there is no evidence of corn to bother her. It seems highly suspicious that she only started hobbling when she was not being allowed to pout at the far end of the leash.
I began to have images of the people on High Street calling the ASPCA on us and reporting me for abusing this poor, downtrodden little creature who only needed a little tin cup to begin begging for alms for the poor. I tried not to dwell on the images that also flashed through my head of strangling her with the leash. Flattery is an incredibly stubborn dog and I know that there’s no way to outmatch her in the stubborn department; you have to try to outsmart her in some other way. I knew it, and yet I still found myself entering into a contest of wills with her.
Once again, like in those days of walking with Blueberry, I sincerely considered calling Mr. Taleteller to come and pick her up. When the going gets tough, there’s nothing more tempting than sitting down in the snow and having a good sulk, but it was too wet for that. I made up my mind that we were going to persevere, and by that point, we were more than halfway along our route, so going forward made more sense than going back. I took a deep breath and let it out. This was followed by another. On the third breath, I looked down and made eye contact with Bunny. She gave me a meaningful look.
Bunny: You know, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing and help you unwind. When you get mad, it’s counterproductive.
Me: You’re right!
Bunny: Of course I am! They didn’t name me Bank On Benefit for nothing.
Me: I suppose you’re going to tell me that if Flattery ends up making us all mad and miserable then she wins.
Bunny: I see you’re finally catching on to the game!
Me: And you propose that we relax and enjoy the rest of the walk, regardless of the third wheel back there?
Bunny: Who back where?
And so, we walked the rest of the way at Bunny’s pace, enjoying ourselves and taking in the last rays of the setting sun. Flattery actually started walking with a lot more pep in her step when she realized we were headed towards home and decided to keep up with us without looking like a burro behind us. The truth is, I’ve been worried that Bunny would be the one who might not be able to keep up with us this winter, since she’s officially gained senior status, but she continues to surprise me. We made a pact to just leave Flattery behind on some of the tougher days from now on so that we can go out and actually enjoy ourselves. I’m sure being left behind won’t suit Flattery, either, so we’ll see how it goes. I just know that I don’t want to turn something that we do to enjoy ourselves and have fun into something that becomes a battle. I also don’t want the neighbors calling the Greyhound Abuse Hotline on me.