Lila can act very dramatic about wearing her gentle leader even though she is very excited about seeing it, at first. When I fasten the gentle leader around her snout, she accepts this routine because she knows that we will be going for a walk. After we head outside, Lila rubs her face in the first patch of grass she finds. She bends down with her rear in the air and walks and slides one side of her face in the grass. Then she flips her head and rubs the other side. Little pieces of grass and dried up leaves stick to her head and in her collar. She then shakes off the grass probably hoping to shake off the gentle leader as well. By now I thought she would have figured out that there is no way for her to get it off.
“Lila, it won’t come off,” I reminded her. “Let’s go.” She sneaks a quick peek at me, accepts her fate, and off we go. It has been a while since I used the gentle leader because last winter it drove me batty when she slid her face in the cold and icy snow. During this walk, it was nice how she mostly stayed right next to me. A few times she swaggered in front of me and I almost fell over her, but most of the time she didn’t pull. Not being pulled by a 70-pound dog for a three-mile walk is a good thing for both of us.
I wondered if she huffs and puffs and sticks out her tongue as far as it can go to see if it will aggravate me enough to remove the thing or if Lila wants to see how other walkers will react to her clowning around. The people we met along the path looked at her in a very concerned manner. Then they dug stares into me as if I was torturing my dog. I always say, “Hello” and act as if my dog is perfectly fine even though she might look as if she has rabies at the time.
Just as I was about to give up and remove the thing because I felt bad for her, her entire demeanor changed the minute she heard a rabbit rustling about in the woods. Suddenly her breathing was normal, her tongue was tucked inside her mouth where it should be and she puffed up as if she had been commanded to stand at attention. I waited for her to watch the rabbit for a while, and the minute I said, “Come on, let’s go,” the huffing and puffing started up again, and the longest tongue in the world practically fell out of her mouth.
The park where we walked that day has many trees. Along the way I peeked to see if I could look through the thickness. Worn out logs have fallen in the woods and some greener branches hung loose from recent storms. There are a few bridges that go over the creek, and Lila took a dip to cool off just before we headed for home. As we turned the corner to see our house, Lila got close to a rabbit, and got away from me. She chased the rabbit from one side and then to the other side of the church in front of our house with her leash bouncing off the ground behind her. The prickly needles of the pine trees did not bother her as she dashed around the branches. I imagine the rabbit’s little heart could have burst out of its chest from all the excitement. Luckily for all of us, even though Lila is a fast runner, the rabbit was faster or did not get grabbed because Lila was wearing her gentle leader.
I got Lila’s attention by offering her a treat inside the house, and now the rabbit is fine. I wonder if the gentle leader saved that rabbit’s life. It’s amazing how fast Lila can run while being tortured by her gentle leader. They don’t call it gentle for nothing!
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