So, this morning, I got up early (well, 7 AM in summer is early), and took my son to walk dogs at the local animal shelter. Why?1) Because I think I am the best Mom ever and will do whatever it takes to help my kids realize their dreams and 2) I seriously need another vocation, and 3) I am just plain nuts.
Anyway, we showed up at the shelter and were told to go get any dog we liked and take it for a walk. The first dog my son chose was a cute little Daschund. The walk went well. On hindsight, we should have just walked the Dashcund over and over again. But we didn’t. Feeling the walk was successful, my son chose a very feisty, active Beagle. No, wait. He chose a Pekingese first (I think this is how you spell it) which came up to the gate and then refused to budge and of course had to go potty. Did my son pick it up? Nah – I did. Needless to say, it brought back memories of dirty diapers which honestly I DO NOT MISS. Since the Pekingese refused to go for a walk, he chose the Beagle. I had misgivings about this spirited dog, but again being a good mom I did not want to discourage him.
My son had difficulty controlling the dog from the moment he took it. We started walking or rather I was walking. My son was a few feet ahead being walked by the Beagle. A few seconds later, my son yelled, “Mama, he took off!” Here I was in flip-flops comfortably walking still sleepy. Well, that shout certainly woke me up. When he yelled, I looked ahead and saw the Beagle taking off, literally sprinting away from my son. A nice man in a white car stopped and called out to the dog hoping to get it to come back.
My son just stood there frozen. I told him to run after the dog and ran back to the front desk to get some help. Soon, I was joined by four of the employees who of course were young, athletic, and wearing sneakers. They took off leaving me in the dust. I decided to go in a different direction and also was looking for my son whom I couldn’t see. I caught up with my son soon and also caught a glimpse of the Beagle crossing the street. I also could see the shelter people in their blue scrubs calling out to the dog and chasing after it.
I put on some speed and took off running again. For a person who naturally is horizontally challenged and has never run in public, this is an admirable feat. By now, my son was crying and upset because he had FAILED. He had lost the dog and just wasn’t a good dog walker. Now mind you, I am huffing and puffing here. It is humid. I desperately was missing my morning coffee and was grumpy. But did I yell at my child? I have to say NO. I did not. I was panting but still managed to talk. I pointed out to my son that he could not have foreseen the dog freeing itself from the leash and taking off. One of the employees had also told me that this kind of thing happened more times than I could know and said not to worry about it.
By now we had reached a really nice part of town with beautiful houses and the employees I believe had cornered the Beagle. While my son and I waited, out walked the four shelter people from someone’s backyard with Beagle in tow. They explained to us that they got him at the bottom of a tree trying to chase a squirrel. I apologized profusely to the employees who actually were very nice and in fact even joked that they got their workout for the day. Didn’t we all?
We walked back to the shelter and handed in our volunteer tags and were informed that in the future, I would have to walk the dogs (in essence hold the leash) as I was over 18. Well, it was an interesting adventure.
Did I learn something? Yes, I did. I learned that I should wear walking shoes next time if I wanted to walk the dogs. But more importantly, I think I managed to get across an important message to my son – that it was okay to make mistakes; accidents do happen. But how we react to it and bounce back determines our success in life. My son who wasn’t sure that he should come back and walk dogs again is now willing to give it a try again. And will he walk a feisty, active dog again? Probably not. He didn’t back bounce back that fast that he will forget today. He just bounced back enough to want to walk a more tame dog. And, of course, I bounced back enough to suggest that he should come back in a week or two (so they don’t remember his face) with his Dad.