Secrets of the Pre-Professional: Not that #$#$# Dog Again?

Release them.
The last two days, stories sat like plump red apples waiting to be plucked from an autumn tree, but I was in a rush to buy fruit at the supermarket before closing time and could not tarry. Today I returned to the orchard and, alas, the tree was nowhere to be found. What I did find was a smug recognition of how far I've come with the god-damned dog in the last couple of months. This morning, I am deeply sorry but I must bring you "Marks of an Pre-Professional Dog Walker"—signposts on the journey from pockmarked couch potato to chiseled dog biscuit.

And so we begin. 

The Dog Harness. No longer do we slink along hoping no one will notice our frayed teal clearance collar from PetSmart. We have recently upgraded to an expedition harness in a cool coastal shade of muted sapphire. With it comes a posterior dispenser of backside-bags (we no longer say "poopy"), and two proper stowaway saddlebags so the dog can carry his own blasted refuse. (We no longer swear like the pool man's daughter.) Freedom from waste matter unfetters our course. (Yes, I KNOW that "feces" would have been a more poetic and alliterative word choice but WE NO LONGER SAY THAT, OK???) We no longer are limited to brisk hikes in urbanized areas in close promixity to public refuse stations; we can stray to the wood for we now tread lightly and carry out what we carried in. (Note: We no longer say "drags through town" or "open dumpsters." We practically shop at EMS now.) Our heroine promenades behind her dashing hound and admires the jeweled tones of his martingale and breastplate, and dreams of the waterfront, at the other reach of her manicured demesne.

The Sports Bra. No longer does this professional don the average beige dual cantaloupe hammock. Now, it's full tack and saddle, because at any moment, she feels she may break from a mere trot. After six years of languid lounging in her stall, this thoroughbred is starting to feel some semblance of fitness and wishes to prevent contusions to forehead and abdomen, should she decide to bust a move. (Oops.) 

The Optimism. Lycra, at last. Leggings bought 30 pounds ago and wrestled on with great determination—but, oh, the reward. Everything is held in nicely, if you overlook the muffin tops on each calf. It's possible that the material is stretched so thinly that the Marvel comic superhero undies show through, but ... well, we don't wear Marvel comic undies. (It's strictly Disney Princesses now.) Should you spot the dog in Lycra, as well, please call for an intervention.

Returning Home Not Soaked. We are too lofty for such crass equestrian references as "ridden hard and put away wet."  The climate today was temperate; we did not perspire. 

We did, however, put pen to paper... sort of. For further reading, our heroine recommends: 

  •   Enter a word in their Jane Austen thesaurus, and you too can sound instantly sophisticated, even without an extravagant noseband, headstall, and crownpiece. (Jane never used those words, by the way.)
  • Dogs of the 18th Century. An interesting and scholarly history of how dogs evolved from workers to man's best friend.