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At 10am today, I was congratulating myself for being so on top of things. Just two hours into the week, I had one task nearly done, and the rest so carefully planned that I was already reveling in my success. Good job, me! I’m the best at doing things!

It’s now 1pm, and, like many Mondays, nothing has gone according to my brilliant plans and I’m failing at everything. Don’t feel too sad for me. This happens all the time, and I (nearly) always pull it all off anyway. That’s what freelancing is: working without a net. Building a parachute on the way down.

Needing to step away from the disaster that was my workday for a moment, I decided to take Lois for a walk, and, for good measure, finally finagle a solution to our leash training problem. Lois is (as you’ll know if you’ve ever wandered into my corner of the internet before) a giant, black and white freight train of silliness masquerading as a dog. We’ve tried to leash train her for two years. Nothing has worked. She doesn’t mean to be bad on a leash, she just can’t grasp the concept that being good is an option.

After regular leash training failed, we tried a Gentle Leader, which is this genius little collar that goes around her muzzle. It actually worked. She didn’t pull with it. It seemed like the solution until one day she proved that when a Very Exciting Dog (every dog) walks by, she’s perfectly capable of breaking out of it to check out said Very Exciting Dog. As we live in a high traffic area, that was the sudden and final end of the Gentle Leader.

So then we got her a harness. This heavy duty alternative definitely secures her, but doesn’t prevent her from pulling in the least. In fact, she gets to pull from her ginormous chest muscles, for which I am no match. For months, we’ve just been dealing with it. Until today, when I cobbled together an idea.

Owning a dog like Lois requires some improvisation skills, not unlike freelancing.

Owning a dog like Lois requires some improvisation skills, not unlike freelancing. Just try and break out of that, Lo. I dare you. (No I don’t. Please just walk nicely.)

Using a key ring and my MacGyver instincts, I connected the Gentle Leader and the harness to opposite ends of the same leash. Were she to break out of the Gentle Leader, I’d still be holding onto her with the harness. And oh my gosh, it totally worked. We walked to the park without any pulling. And, as if the universe was going out of its way to prove its efficacy, we passed a Very Exciting Dog. Lois was Very Excited, and no disaster ensued.

So that’s how I’m going to fix the rest of my day. Not specifically with extreme canine bondage, but with attitude that whatever I’ve been doing thus far, regardless of how much it should be working, just isn’t, and I’m going to have to try something new. In the world of freelancing, trying something new is the oldest trick in the book.

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