Leashes are the tools with which dog walkers practice their craft. No other single item is as important. Without shoes, our feet would quickly develop thick natural pads. Without cars or bikes to get from house to house, we would become bus schedule masters and/or Olympic runners. Without poop bags, we would either be jailed for littering or never shake anyone’s hand again. Without keys and alarm codes, we would become cat burglars without the burgling (i.e. we’d remain dog borrowers, only stealthier). Yes, whether nylon, cotton, hemp or leather, the leash is as essential to dog walking as the rope is to sailing. In fact, with strong pulling dogs, the leash and sailing rope become effectively the same thing. Why don’t they have an aquatic Iditarod with lots of Labradors pulling canoes? I’m sure labs and audiences would love it. I’m losing my train of thought.
Train! That is what we would have to do without leashes. Every dog we walk would have to be like those fancy shepherd dogs that run precisely the direction of your choosing based on which part of “Frére Jacques” you whistle. Some of the dogs I walk, like smarty Miss Sally, have the intelligence and docility to pick up this trick, and yet we would still lack the time needed to practice, as well as lacking the open field full of sheep. With some of the other dogs–no offense Biscuit–I’m lucky to get them to sit for a treat. A field full of sheep would become a scene of such carnage that even National Geographic photographers would have to turn away. And what if the field was full of squirrels? It’s a horrific thought.
But not with a leash! Leash technology is so effective that I’ve even seen it applied to wild animals such as tigers and children. Some people even walk their leashed-up house cats, though these people are probably nuts. Avid anglers are always trying to convince fish to attach themselves to a leash, but fish are so stupid that they don’t recognize a great tool when they swim past it. Cowboys are famous for the way they attach leashes to cows.
Bungee jumpers are dedicated to sharing their most thrilling moments with leashes, and for an instant, they even love leashes as intensely as a dog walker. Kite flyers, yo yo artists, double-dutch jumpers and just about everyone in the world shares a common motto: “from leashed to greatest!”