Thursday, January 20, 2005


Merci and Buddy walking Jan on a lead.

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

I have been walking Jan for a year and a half. Buddy has only accompanied us a few times, so I get to write this column as the senior, more experienced canine authority.

Buddy and I have discussed Jan’s motor skills and we have independently reached the same verdict.

Jan has no motor skills.

We know this for a fact. We have thoroughly tested her under a variety of conditions and the only skill she has is being a klutz.

Just this afternoon Buddy and I gently and patiently led her through yet another re-test, hoping against hope she might finally pass. She flunked.

We walked very sedately down the street while Jan alternated between stopping suddenly, running two or three steps, moving left, moving right, walking around a post, tripping over her own feet, forging ahead, turning back, unwrapping herself from the leashes - You get the idea. She just can not walk a straight line at an even gait. It’s not our fault. We have done everything we can think of to properly train her to walk on a lead.

Why, just two months after I began training her to pep up her pace, she embarrassed me something terrible. I stopped to peaceably admire a squirrel across the street. The next thing I knew Jan was flailing, flying and rolling on the dirty cement. She still thinks her public acrobatics might be my fault. She wouldn’t have a clue- I mean, she wouldn’t dare try to blame me if that passing motorist hadn’t stopped to ask if she was all right and said, “Your feet got tangled up in the leash.” Honestly, a grown woman who can’t control her own feet!

Jenny the cat has lived with Jan for sixteen years and she claims Jan has been a klutz for all that time. Now that Jenny is blind, she has to depend on the squeals and screeches of the other pets to let her know when Jan is in her vicinity. We’re glad we can help Jenny.

I learned the hard way not to stand too close to Jan. Buddy hasn’t figured that out yet. He says he stays close to her so she can’t miss him and she doesn’t. She steps on him or trips over him all the time. He screeches. She screeches. It gets pretty noisy around here.

We have done fairly well at training her to let us know when she’s coming through. She yells, “Out of the waaaaaaaaaaay!” more frequently as she travels around the house now. We all stop where we are, usually at her feet, and watch Jan to see which one of us she’ll target this time.

I’m thinking that all of the residents here at Jan’s Funny Farm should have a yard sale. We can sell some of the things Jan doesn’t need, such as her clothes and books, and use the proceeds to send Jan to obedience school. Or perhaps, charm school. She must learn to coordinate her limbs or Buddy and I will have to train another walking partner. Mr. Doug likes us. Maybe he would volunteer.

Note to myself (Merci): If we do have a yard sale, we should put up a watch-where-you’re-stepping-and-what-you’re-stepping-in sign, just for fun.

Till next time,

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