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Monday, February 8, 2016

Leading, when you need to

Yup.    Monday.   That means another walk at One of A Kind.   When I walk in, it’s not even a question as to who I’ll be walking with. I’m greeted with “Rudolph is waiting for ya”.   I peek in the window and I see a dog that is ready and waiting to go.   Like a battery that’s been charging all week and is ready burn up all of that energy at once.   I say hi with a treat, hook the leash on, and we head out to the park.

Once we get to the park, it’s go time!   We ran almost a full lap.   We generally followed the path, but there were some “off path excursions”.    (Hey, you have to stop and smell the roses…...or in this case, where other dogs have pee’d).   We had a blast, but sometimes running with Rudolph is a bit tough.   He runs in front of, beside, behind, then in front, then stops to sniff, then off to the side, then takes off like a shot, then to the…… get the idea.   I realized two separate things at this point.   The first part is that without leadership, things aren’t efficient.   They don’t stay on task.   I was letting Rudy lead and the priority for him was really just to follow the next smell.   He sorta-kinda followed the path, but we were all over it.   We weren’t really getting anywhere.   For us to actually walk around the park the best he needed a leader to guide him.   Being on the other end of the leash, that was up to me.    

Taking my leadership responsibilities a bit more seriously, I started to offer my guidance to keep him on track.   As I started to rein him in and point in directions, he did great.  He walked next to me.   He checked other things out, but did his best to stay on task.   While doing this, I could tell he just was ready to explode though.   That’s when the second part hit me.   “Why are we restraining what we’re doing?”   This guy doesn’t get walks in the park but once a week.    Should the whole hour be filled with rules and work?   Heck no!!!!!!   I looked down at the same time he looked up at me.   “Let’s go Rudy!”   We took off running like the wind and having a blast.   Sniffing, stopping, starting, and going in circles as he pleased.  It was his time for fun!   My second lesson…fun doesn’t always need to be organized.   Sometimes, it just needs to happen.

As we started going a bit bananas and having some fun, my phone rings.   It’s a call from One of A Kind.   “Hi Josh.   I was wondering if you could bring Rudolph back as there’s someone here that would like to meet him and maybe adopt him.”   I’ll be very honest, I’m not sure how I responded, but inside I said “@#$% yes we can!”   I scratched his chin, and said, “Let’s go buddy!   This could be your big chance!”   Straight across the middle of the park we went.   We didn’t need a path!    We needed a straight line to get us back as fast as 6 legs can carry us.   

We get back to the clinic and I’m doing my best to act like I didn’t just do a ½ mile sprint with the dog, and failing miserably.   I’m breathing like someone that ran a marathon while sucking air through a straw.   I do my best to compose myself and  we head into the room for a meet and greet.
Frankly, I think it’s better if I don’t say much about the meeting.  I will say that I’m very hopeful.   I very much hope that I will miss Rudy.   If I do, it’s because he has the forever home that he deserves.   For such a wonderful creature, this possibility makes me feel happier and more fulfilled than I have in a very long time.   We will see what happens, but if it means that Rudolph has his forever home, I’m more than willing to let someone else teach this old dog some new tricks.    

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