Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Ride From Hell

Okay, not for me. For Sparky, the WunderBeagle, my part time pet.

I have a Burley cargo trailer that I get groceries in. So I got this bright idea to take Sparky for a ride. Sparky is about 10 years old and he's developing this arthritic hip and he no longer wants to walk very far. Sometimes I've walked him for what used to be a short walk and the last half he's dragging me by the leash. Backwards. Formerly he wants to drag me in the other direction. I use a Halty dog color that goes around his snout like a muzzle, but doesn't prevent him from biting, sniffing, licking, or whatever. It does allow me more control and its because the leash connects just below his snout. Not painful like a choke chain, but he quickly gets the message quickly as to who's the boss.

So, I thought I'd take him for a ride in the trailer behind the QB. He's only 30 pounds and I also have a harness intended for buckling him into a seat belt. So, I use this and I'm able to use the lash points in the trailer to keep him safe so he can look around, even turn around, sit or stand, but not get enough of his hind legs into it and leap out.

He's okay getting in. He sorta looked nervous when I put on the helmet and locked the garage door. "You aren't going to leave me here?" Off we went. I use a mirror on my sun glasses so I could turn my head and see him back there. His tail wasn't exactly wagging, but he didn't seem to be in distress.

I had thought I'd ride to a local coffee shop as they are on the order of three miles away. I went on a weekday afternoon last week, early enough in the afternoon that was very little traffic. When I got there, I noticed he was in a high state of agitation. He was quivering like it was time for shots. Something he dislikes almost as much as his nails being cut. I quickly disconnected him and put him on a leash. I have snuck him inside the shop before and I was hoping that AC would help him mellow out. I got a smoothie and then we sat outside. The entire time he stood and wouldn't relax. Usually he lies down or at least sits when he figures I'm not going anywhere. We've been there before so he knows the routine.

I made the stay as long as I could. I lashed him in, like I had before so he had movement, but not so much I thought he'd leap out. Wrong.

As I put my helmet on, and stuffed the Onion into my saddlebag, he was standing on the ground behind the trailer. I shortened the tie down three times before I got it to work. I had to make it so short he couldn't stand up. If he got his back legs semi straight, he'd leverage and then go into this frenzy shake like he was ridding himself of water. This would generate enough slack to get out of the trailer. Then he'd look at me with this look like, "You moron." Smartypantz.

We made the ride home, as fast as I could, but he wasn't happy about it. Okay, lets call that a short failed experiment, and leave it at that. Here I hoped he be able to enjoy my habit, um hobby, and he doesn't. Bummer for Sparky, and yeah for me too.