I am calm. And assertive. Calm. And assertive.

As the weather is turning, the dog park has become less fun. Also, I got the cold shoulder a few weeks ago from a couple with a boxer, with whom Isis had played before, but on this day they didn’t seem to care for Isis’ aggressive play tactics (unusually so, for her) and left. And there was no one else there.

Our yard has gotten smaller, as construction has begun on Rob’s 2,100-square-foot dream, and the Dog Whisperer says I should be walking her at least twice a day anyway … so I busted out the prong collar and we hit the streets.

The plan is to wake up and walk at 7 a.m. I’ve found success with setting out dog-walking clothes the night before, and just throwing them on, instead of showering and getting ready for work and before walking her. (Some days I’ve even walked her after work, too!)

Isis already has figured out that when my phone alarm goes off at 7 that a walk is in store, because she rests her head on the bed and whines at me if I try to hit snooze and go back to sleep.

She’s doing pretty well. She doesn’t pull on the leash too badly, and she only lunges and barks at some of the passing bicycles. I’ve been giving her B+ most of the time, with a few C’s when she’s had an outburst. But she hasn’t faced any real challenges yet. I can’t give her an A- until she successfully passes another dog without barking at it.

I was scared to get back on the walking program because I’d been seeing a woman walking a perfectly behaved husky like clockwork at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and a man around the same times with two large, mellow rottweilers. I shudder to think of how it would go down if we passed either of them. I’d have to cross to the other side of the street, even where there’s no sidewalk, and I’m still not sure she could manage to keep walking without barking and lunging like the vicious attack dog she isn’t, but was sort of bred to be.

I have to confess that I take extreme pleasure in seeing other dog owners having a worse time than me. On the way to dinner on my birthday, we saw a woman in a crosswalk with a shepherdy looking dog wearing a little rain jacket. The dog was leaping in the air as the woman tried to cross the street. It grabbed the leash in its mouth and dragged the woman to the curb.

The other day I saw a guy with a dog on a green leash. The green leash is a dead giveaway that the dog attends a certain obedience school that makes and sells particularly strong green leashes. Isis and I may have flunked the class twice, but we still use the leash. The guy had a German shorthair or something, and all I saw as I drove past was a lot of frustrated leash-jerking and a forced sit.

Ha ha ha. Other people have worse-behaved dogs than I do.

I haven’t gotten her a Halloween costume this year, but here she is in her sporty Halloween bandana (Thanks, Aunt Louise!)


I don’t know why she looks so depressed when I try to take her picture all dressed up. Here she is in action. With, of all things, a nasty disintegrating soccer ball.