Finally, I finished all the stuff I had to do in order to volunteer at the shelter.

First, I walked two little dogs, because, as I’ve said before, I don’t have a lot of dog walking experience. Something I outweigh by that much, I can handle, right? (Later escape attempts by the little dogs lead me to revise this to I can handle something that I outweigh and is attached to me by a leash.)

I walked a dog that was happily thumping the side of his cage with his tail as soon as I approached, and then another that was more mellow. Both were pleased to be outside, so we strolled around. I controlled any lunges at birds, other dogs, and people, and when I got tired from the heat, we sat and I gave them some attention before returning them to the AC and their water bowls.

Then I went to another kennel, and instead of a small dog, was handed the leash to a pit bull mix that hadn’t been walked yet. She was very sweet, and rapturous at the attention, but I can’t honestly say I walked that dog. That dog walked me–pulled me like she was a speed boat and I was on water skis.

I dug in my heels, leaning backwards, trying not to run into any benches, trees, or other hazards.

But she did get her walk, and I didn’t end up pulling a dog out of the fish pond (for a moment I thought I would be), so we both won.

After that adventure, I needed to do something a bit more low energy, so I went and socialized the cats. It was pretty much the same as when I went as a non-volunteer, except I could go in the back to pick them out instead of waiting in a room. Which was fun, because when you walk in back, the friendlier cats wake up and demand attention. Especially the kittens, who reach through the bars of the ventilation strip, waving their paws at you.

Come here, human, and pet me! Now!

And how can you say no to those tiny fuzzy faces?

After I was rested, I took out one more dog, a chihuahua mix that was jumping around in his kennel like a bouncy ball. By that point, I’d been there for a few hours, and it was getting to be dinner time, so I headed out. And I learned something: I’m not at an advanced dog-walking level.

Any advice from more experienced leash-holders? (Many of these dogs are not trained yet.)

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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