Bonkers dog kept (mostly) in check with gift from my cousin

Sometimes I’ll see dogs being walked with leashes hooked to their collars, and the dogs are often straining and choking worse than when the WWF’s “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase would put an opponent in his signature sleeper hold, the Million Dollar Dream, when I was a kid watching professional wrestling on TV.

It makes me want to smack them.

Not DiBiase and his opponent—the dogs’ owners. Besides, I doubt DiBiase would take kindly to being smacked. I’ll try it and let you know what happens.

Before Katniss came along, I vowed that when I got a dog of my own that I would use a harness, not a collar, to hook a leash to when walking Future Dog. A collar seems like it would hurt the dog and make it too hard for him or her to breathe when on walks; a harness not only doesn’t choke a dog, but it also offers better control of him or her when walking.

I mentioned my intention of getting a harness offhand one day to my cousin Amy when she was visiting a then-puppy Katniss, and she promptly went to her car and brought back a brand-new red harness that matched Katniss’ collar perfectly. To this day it is one of the most useful and thoughtful gifts anyone has given me. Amy’s kindness is something I think about every time I clip Katniss into the harness before a walk.

I’m not sure how distant of a cousin Amy is—I bet she’s at least a third cousin; maybe a fourth cousin—but since I have a small family, she’s just my cousin, no numbers attached.

Amy is often on Facebook calling attention to various local pets that are lost or animals that need adopted from nearby shelters. Katniss was her rambunctious self when Amy came to visit, but Katniss’ excited barks and jumping didn’t bother Amy a bit—my cousin loves animals.

Katniss and some idiot apparently like bluebonnets. Note the awesome harness.

And Katniss knows that when my wife or I approach with her harness, it’s time to sit and be a good girl while we hook it onto her before we leave the house for walks. Hyperactive Katniss immediately becomes a much better-behaved dog on our walks when wearing her harness, and should she need to be restrained or encouraged to keep walking, the harness offers far more control and is surely less painful—if at all painful—than a collar/leash combo would be.

Of course, Katniss is often at least a little ornery on our daily walks—this is Katniss you’re reading about, after all—but overall the harness helped her transition from being a decent puppy walking companion to a very good dog when walking. Usually.

Amy’s kindness is something I think about every time I clip Katniss into the harness before a walk.

Amy is celebrating her birthday today, Aug. 29. If you happen to know her, be sure to tell her how great she is. She might even give you a dog harness.

And if you think pro wrestling is fake, I believe the Million Dollar Dream is a legit submission hold that really does force its victims to pass out, hence it also being known as a “sleeper” hold. Why do I say this? I’m pretty sure one of my friends put me in the hold once when we were in college.*

And in case you were wondering (and how could you not?), I do still watch wrestling on TV when I have time.

___

*Does the fact that I’m not 100 percent sure if that happened attest to the effectiveness of the Million Dollar Dream? Then again, it was college—I’m sure I was just too busy partying studying to remember.

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