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Flat Out

Every day is an adventure with my body but yesterday was a circus and my dog and I were the main act. Once a week, I take my German Shepherd to socialization class at a local pet food store. Jackson is 7 months old, weighs about 50 pounds and is incredibly strong. Before we even left the house, I was having trouble walking but I kept thinking, “I can do this. I just have to get from the car, across the street and into the store. Then, it’s just 15 more paces and I can sit in a chair while Jackson plays with his dog friends.” We did great leaving the house. He let me put his leash on and jumped into the back seat of my car. When we pulled into the parking place in front of the store, Jackson jumped out and stayed by my side. Crossing the street, he was pulling a little bit but I was able to regain control; however, once I opened the door to the store, the story changed.

When we walked in, there were 2 registers open on the left and a line of pet owners about 3 people deep at each of them. I could see that 1 of the pet owners waiting at the first register closest to me had her dog with her. In addition, I saw the trainer who runs the socialization class and knows my challenges with Multiple Sclerosis and my German Shepherd and she was waving at me and motioning for us to come on in. I started walking toward the class which was in the front left hand corner of the store past the registers but Jackson had another idea. He wanted to go straight and see the dog who was waiting at the register with her owner. At that moment, the show began.

He tugged so hard on his leash that I fell down onto my right side. Lucky for me, it was a graceful fall but then he continued to pull on the leash until I was sprawled out on my right side on the floor from head to toe. By the time the trainer came over to rescue me from this situation, Jackson had swung my body around so I was laying flat on my back with my arms outstretched over my head. I can only imagine how silly it must have looked and what people must have been thinking but at that moment, I decided, “You can still do this.” So I got up, gave Jackson’s leash to the trainer so she could deal with him, hobbled over to the class and sat in a chair. If it had been a battle of wits, I would have won hands down but it was a battle of brute strength and I lost miserably.

The trainer asked me if I was alright and even though my pride was hurt a bit, I was fine so I assured her I was OK. Then, she showed me a trick with Jackson’s leash so I could have more control and leverage over him and off we went to class. I may have MS and I may have a really strong dog who knocked me off my feet yet again, but I am not a quitter.

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