“Hardy, Har, Har!”

"My little dog -- a heartbeat at my feet."
-Edith Wharton (photo: Office.com)

by Sandi Martinez

“You know, this will go a lot faster if you stop squirming so much,” Toby the German Sheppard wobbled on his two back legs, setting his rump down slowly, and with some visible pain.

“Yeah but what is it, and why do I have to wear it?” Malibu wrinkled her small pink nose, sniffing the straps of the harness.

“You want to go on that walk or not?” Toby asked, wagging his tail at his human-friend.

“But what’s it for?” Malibu insisted.

“Well, do you remember yesterday when you nearly choked to death because you were too busy yanking our human during our walk?” Toby smirked, and shook his head.

“Well, there’s so much to see, and smell, and all those sounds, I just want to know what it’s all about!” Their human scooped Malibu up in her arms; she lovingly rubbed her nose against the soft fur onMalibu’s neck.

“You know, you’re pretty brand new, and cute too, but you have A LOT to learn.” Toby stood up on all four’s, to get a handful of love from their human.  “It’s called a ‘harness’.

“A hardy, har, har, what?” Malibu giggled, “hardness?”

“Oh for heaven’s sake, just stop squirming!” Toby said impatiently.

Once the harness was on, Malibu ran up and down the stairs, sped across the living room floor, and slammed right into Toby.  “Ok, got it, got it on!  The hardness!”

Toby rolled his eyes, “a HARNESS”.

“Ok, it feels tight.  Toby, what’s it for?” Malibu scratched at her neck.

“You’ll see.” He rubbed himself up against their human’s leg; his tail wagged, despite that after the walk, he would be very tired and sore.

Their human held the ends of both leashes snugly, opened the front door, and were nearly knocked through the entryway as Malibu bounded down the steps.  Toby rolled his eyes again.

“Why are you walking so slow?  Aren’t you excited?” Little Malibu walked on air, her eyes dreamy and full of wonder.

“No kid, I used to be once – when I was your age.  Now, it’s all I can do to keep up.” He said; sadness crept into his eyes as he looked lovingly at his human.

“Don’t worry Toby; I’ll walk for the both of us!” she walked side-by-side with him.  He smiled.  He thought what would it hurt to see the world through the eyes of a pup again?  It is spring after all, and there are new smells, the weather is warming up, and his new friend has enough energy for the both of them… what could it hurt to feel again, even the soreness reminded him he’s still alive, and his human still loves him as much as before even with the new pup around.  Toby realized that they would be going on more walks, more often.  He would have to chase Malibu and get into shape again.  No pain, no gain – at least that’s what the humans say!

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