With my two dogs, although the may look like dainty and goliath, a walk through the park is well, just that.
Once the leashes are in hand, the excitement mounts and I just can't move fast enough for the happy little hounds.
We stroll the two blocks to Judah Park, saying hello to Princess Stella's Shih-Tzu boyfriend number one along the way.
With the weather finally deciding to cooperate with our walking routine, we — being the dogs and I, scheduled a play date.
Invited were: a family member's Shih-Tzu puppy and a friend's lab pup, both who would have otherwise spent the better portion of their day alone. What can I say? I'm a sucker, and apparently the town's puppy sitter.
Armed with two retractable leashes and two standard leashes I weighed my options.
Already, things were getting interesting between the party guests.
Trying to get four excited fur balls captured, harnessed, latched and buckled took a bit of coordination on my part. Under the table, around the recliner, over the Shih Tzu and with one large leap onto the doggie pile the lab pup was ready to walk, one down and three to go.
With all four finally in proper walking attire we headed, well tumbled, out the front door.
Just two steps off the front porch we experienced our first meltdown.
It was apparent that the Shih Tzu pup was unhappy with his walking partner which resulted in a tangled mass of fur and fabric leashes.
"Stella, sit! Ace, no stop! Whoa, hold on," I hollered. Hoping I could at least get my two to cooperate and be 'mommy's little helpers' was good in theory, just not on pavement.
With knot number one untangled and with newly assigned walking partners, we mushed forward.
The first block, while a bit nerve-wracking seemed to go OK. We rounded the corner, park in sight, and there he was, Stella's boyfriend.
Before I could click the button to stop her leash she was off and so were both puppies leaving Ace and I in the dust.
Regaining composure, I ordered Ace to "sit!" dropped his leash and used both thumbs to "reel in" the love-struck princess and one of her followers. With the loop of the third leash around my elbow, I performed what probably resembled a mix between the Chicken Dance and the Macarena to holster in the remaining pup.
A block later we were happily at the park and luckily alone.
Being the mature adult that he is, Ace was allowed to roam freely near our herd.
With one less leash to get tangled, my role quickly changed to poop picker-upper. Holding a leash with my teeth, another firmly placed between my foot and the grass and the other between my knees, this went on for the first loop of the park.
Apparently it's inappropriate to coordinate potty efforts and make just one pit stop.
When we'd all had enough of tangled leash tango, we headed back.
Within five minutes, the pups were passed out on my living room floor and so was I.
–Megan Tilk is a reporter and weekly columnist for the Mary ville Daily Forum. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow her blog at www.megantilk.blogspot.com.