The summer slump means I have more time to spend with the three fleabags, which is good, because since my son is working for grandpa on the farm, the dogs have been very bored without him.

The boxer especially needs a reason to work off her energy. I thought taking him for a walk -- just before the sun starts to set when it finally starts cooling off, would be perfect for her. And for a couple of walks she did really well -- she didn't embarrass me when I walked by a family reunion and for most of the walk stayed close to my side, like she's supposed to.

A few at the family reunion were so impressed they wanted to give her a cupcake, but I said "She's only being good right now. That can change any time."

Of course, I don't give her a long enough leash to get into too much trouble, because I've learn if give her too much slack she'll be every which way checking everything out and pulling me so hard that I have to sprint to keep up with her.

I've walked dogs long enough to come up with a route that keeps us away distractions like big dogs and cat havens. There's a spot or two I have to keep with from a cat or a small dog -- but there all I've got to do is move to the other side of the street to keep the boxer moving and out of trouble.

She behaved so well, I decided to start bringing the old dog Chester along too. Usually walking both dogs can be a nightmare, because they know they can get away with more when my attention is split between the two of them. But they surprised me, and were actually fairly well behaved, excepted of course, when we crossed paths with a cat.

That didn't last, unfortuantely. I know what you're thinking. Why didn't I just take one at a time? You don't understand, when I take one for walk,  they all want to go -- even the Shih Tzu, and he has to be carried before we're halfway done. If I leave one or two of them behind, they give me the saddest, most disappointed look that breaks my heart.

To my demise, I decided to be more adventureous and go off the usual route that takes us to Huntress Park. The two dogs were being so good I thought I'd like to see other parts of beautiful Clay Center by taking nice and shady Fifth Street up to where the sidewalked then come back, take Washington to Ninth Street and go home that way. There aren't many dogs on that route.

I was almost right. All it took was one vicious (sounding) dog behind a fence on Washington Street that Chester and Val thought they had to get to for us to be derailed.  Val broke he collar trying to get to the other -- which of course was impossibble,  but before I knew it, she was loose and I was chasing her down Seventh Street with Chester in tow.

The old dog, of course, was no help. Sometime last year he decided he's done with running altogether because he's too old for that, so I was literally dragging him as I tried to catch up to Val.

I chased for several blocks before she came back to because she came across another tough-sounding dog in a pen. I got her home by turning the leash into a make-shift choke collar. She knew she was in trouble, though because she didn't even try to tug at the leash until we were home.    

I should have known that was all going too well. It was too good to be true. I think before we go on a walk again, I'll get the boxer a harness, and myself, a straight jacket.