Yesterday, Betty visited Owen Hollow where life is VIBRANT with new growth. I had spent the most of the 2 prior days “working my land” – mowing the knee high flowers which grow every year before the grass emerges through the bed of moss. I find this fascinating . . . this choreography of untamed beauty, and the myriad creatures doing what they do to adjust their ways – Hummingbirds have found the new feeder I gifted them (last years feeder fell apart). Every year, I intentionally delay my human interference in this magnificent unfolding of the symphony Mother Nature’s orchestra . . . until I realize that, without boundaries, Nature will consume my fields, my house, my barn . . . and so I go about the business of taming my little slice of heaven to find our Nature/Human rhythm for this new Spring season.
My 3 canines (Betty calls them “Beasts” – more descriptive) have lived their lives in relative confinement indoors with periodic walks, always tethered to a human by a leash. Yesterday, Betty asked a question that seriously endangered this status quo: “Barry, what would happen if you were to let them go and be FREE from their leashes?
Thoughts swirling through my noggin instantly conjured SO many rationalizations for this being not a good idea – the 55,000ish acres beyond the West ridge of Owen – without restraint, would they come back? They could get lost or injured or encounter WILD animals (We occasionally are aware of Bears, Coyotes, Fox, Deer, & etc).
Betty had a follow up question that trumped ALL of my objections to this notion of untethering these Beasts: “Don’t they deserve to RUN and PLAY OUTDOORS?”
Yes – I remember the feeling I had when Allison and Jessica got their drivers licenses and were not dependent upon . . . out of my control.
I let go of the leashes, and off they went – Tony, Thor, and Mama Elsa all raced through the Hollow with unbridled energy – SO HAPPY . . . and when they ran out of steam . . . They returned to where Betty and I were sitting.
Betty said something that shook me: “With such confines of Leashes and crates), they cannot know what boundaries are.”
So . . . How do we remove the leashes AND know that they are safe and within reasonable boundaries?
Training . . . with expanded boundaries – Shock collars are useful for this – teaching them by giving them a (non harmful) jolt when they approach a boundary . . . and so, I will receive 3 of these collars tomorrow, and my pups will go to school for FREEDOM.
Yep . . . not much different than toddlers – teenagers – adults . . . remove the leashes and set clear boundaries, and quit being a control freak 🙂