Even, when you’re only going a couple of miles.
Even when you’ve driven that stretch a million times.
Just put on your seatbelt.
The same is for your dog safety protocols.
Yeah….. I blew it.
The last dog I rescued was my Jaxxy. He was a tough one. And a blessing. He made me seek more information. He led me to the path I’m on now. But….. Took a ton of research. A lot of work. And about 4 months of pack restructuring to get my crew where we were.
And it was beautiful.
They were loose most of the time. Could play well. Slept on the couch together. Solid.
And, that was no easy feat.
Jax and Milo are both gamers. If they fight….. They don’t stop.
The trick with dogs like that is to teach them that they don’t need to fight.
And that works for 99% of the situations. Like good driving makes seatbelts irrelevant.
But….. That 1%…… That’s why you wear seatbelts.
That is why we have a rule of 2 dogs at a time on walks/pulls. Choke collars on and back up leash for every dog even if they’re in pulling harnesses………. Because IF that one in a million thing just goes sideways, it can be safely dealt with.
After almost a year of zero incidents…… I got a little loose.
One time in a hurry….. I took 3 for a pull. Now, that time, I had all my back up gear, and a Pet Convincer. And, bothered to look way ahead to ensure no distractions.
And….. It went fine.
That turns, over time, into 3 being no problem in a pinch.
Being in a hurry, I forgot to put a back up collar on a dog once.
That, turned into not really stressing about them if I was just “doing a quick one”.
Yep…. You can drive a long, long time and not need a seatbelt.
But, then….. One day….. You hit a tree.
Well, I hit 4 ox dragging a tire.
Yeah. That’s a rural Maine problem. But, guaranteed you have something that ridiculously irritating in your neighborhood too.
I had 3 dogs in harnesses pulling my mountain bike.
Well, of course on that day, I only had one dog in a back up collar with spare leash. And, the only reason I had Jax in that, is because he gets hot sometimes and needs to be allowed to lollygag.
I did have a Pet Convincer…..
But, hadn’t checked it to make sure it was full.
Yep. It was one of those days.
So, we come upon these fucking ox. And, I try to blow right past them, which I’ve managed with 2 dogs…… But….. Not 3.
Pack drive goes up with multiple dogs, and on this day. they banked towards the ox. Of course I stop them, but now, the are all being restrained about 30 feet away from the things. I see the redirection about to come.
Out comes the Pet Convincer in an attempt to distract and get them moving. It sound like a broken whoopee cushion. And,does exactly nothing.
And….. They fight.
All 3 game. Actually game. 2 committed and gripping. 1 just taking pot shots. It takes me about 8 minutes to get them all under control. At one point, I had to give up on breaking them up, and take the line of the bike to fashion it into a slip lead. Breaking up 3 game dogs by yourself is a fucking nightmare.
Complete shit show.
Nobody died. So that’s good.
2 dogs in the ER. Staples and punctures galore.
Anyway, the point isn’t to complain.
The point is to try to help people.
So…… That day that you’re walking out and you hear yourself say “eh….. I probably don’t need to do that today……
Yeah….. Go ahead and put your seatbelt on anyway.
Complacency is expensive.
In recap, the things I could have done better:
– Follow safety protocols. You made them for a reason.
– Check equipment when important things depend on it working.
– Don’t test new levels of distractions/difficulty/danger (like passing 4 ox) unless you set it up on purpose, or at least have a back up plan that’s well thought out
Hopefully…… This will help someone remember to put on their seatbelt.