Standing by the hall closet, I call out, “Fleegle, we’re going for a walk.”
“Great minds think alike. I was just going to suggest you get your lazy backside off the couch and go fetch your leash,” Fleegle says as he ambles down the hall from his napping spot in the bedroom.
I get the leash from the back of the closet door. “You’re the one to talk. You’ve done nothing but snore all morning.”
“Was not. I was counting my breaths just like you do when you meditate, it’s just easier to do when I can hear them.”
“So you were counting your snores in search of your higher self?”
“Actually I was in search of your higher self. I figure I’d be doing you a big favor if I could find him for you.” I slip his harness over his head and buckle it around his waist. “I bet that would be worth a lot of biscuits.”
“Biscuit nirvana for you.” I attach his leash, then take the pink harness and leash I just got for Franny from the back of the closet door.
Fleegle cocks his head at it. “What’s that for?”
“It’s for Franny.”
“Why do you need to give her a leash? Haven’t I always led you back home just fine on my own?”
“You sure have, Fleegle, every time, but I thought you’d like to share the responsibility. It can’t be easy carrying all that on your own.”
“Well, you know, I could use some help pulling you in the right direction when you’re being particularly obstinate about going in the wrong direction, or when you’re being anti-social and avoiding other dogs.” He gives the new leash a sniff.
“I figured you’d feel that way.”
Franny hears us talking and trots down the hallway to us, dragging a rope tug toy in her mouth. She eyeballs the leash in my hand and spits out the tug toy. “Ooo, that one looks like fun,” she says and makes a grab for it.
But before she knows what I’m doing I have her harness over her head and buckled at her belly, leash already attached to the metal loop on the back.
Fleegle looks at her and says, “Now you look just like me.” He shakes his fur inside his harness.
She sits down and scratches at her harness. “I don’t like this tug toy. And I look nothing like you. You’re the color of – -”
“Be nice, Franny,” I say. “Don’t say something hurtful you’ll regret later. Fleegle is a sensitive dog.”
“I was only going to say he’s the color of my food.”
“Why? What did you think I was going to say?”
Fleegle looks up at me. “Yeah, what did you think she was going to say?”
I’m saved by the puppy when she asks Fleegle, “Why has he tethered himself to us?”
“We’re taking him for a walk and sometimes he has trouble keeping up and needs a good pull.”
“Like tug-of-war, but we get to wear a harness instead of using our teeth?’
* * *
Halfway through our walk, Franny smells something interesting to her and pulls hard to the left. “Let’s go this way.”
Fleegle doesn’t budge as he continues to sniff the base of a shrub. “But I’m in the middle of something. Hold your horses.”
“What horses? Is that what I smell?” she says and bucks against the restraint of the leash.
My arms are extended as far as they can go. I look skyward, at one with the leashes, the buckle that holds the two together.