Getting Ray into his car harness and then into the car was easier than I expected. Perhaps he was excited about going for a drive somewhere but, more likely, he probably thought that we were going to meet Carol.
We arrived at a lakeside park and the weather was cool, damp and very blustery. There were some great waves coming in! I thought about changing his harness while he was in the car, but the wind kept blowing the door on me making it rather awkward. I attached his leash to his car harness, unclipped him from the restraining strap, and asked him to jump! He jumped out of the car as expected.
I was then standing in the parking lot with Ray in his car harness and on his leash. First thing to do was to thread his leash under the car harness (Done!). Next was to unclip his harness and pull it over his head (Done!). Finally, to lift his front feet up so the car harness could be pulled away from him (Done!). So far so good, and Ray was very cooperative.
To get his walking harness on, I had to loop it over his head (Done!). Thread his leash under the top of the harness, and then lift a foot up and clip it together (All done!).
The only issue was the cold blustery weather which was aggravated by me being perhaps “under-dressed” for being so close to the lake, and standing around getting Ray ready. Soon however we were off!
We were out for just over an hour and, being a very brisk walk (due to the weather), I was ready to head for home and a nice hot drink! As soon as we were back at the car, I decided to follow Carol’s routine of doing everything while Ray was in the car. It would be uncomfortable going through that process in the parking lot with that strong wind coming off the lake.
Opening the rear door and saying “Ray… jump! In you go!” was the easy part. Ray leapt up onto the back seat and then tried to step between the front seats. He would love to ride in the front but, for reasons that are hopefully obvious, he is not allowed there. I was getting his car harness ready when the back door was blown up against me.
Pushing the door open again. I then had to pull him back where he belongs and remove his walking harness. A Ray is a very unpredictable and powerful force when he chooses to be, and so he must be leashed during this harness changing process so that he can always be controlled as necessary. The first step was to attach his leash (Done!); thread it under his walking harness (Done!); unclip the harness (Done!), and get his front leg out of the loop… but at that moment, the door swung shut again and pushed me into Ray.
If dogs have a sense of humour, I am pretty sure that Ray has more than his share as he just looked at me with a look of “He has no idea what he is doing.” Desperate situations call for desperate measures, so I climbed into the back of the car and was kneeling on the back seat. Ray saw no reason to move so our half of the seat was quite crowded!
With considerable difficulty, I did eventually get Ray out of his walking harness while still leashed. I looked at the circumstances that I was in; looked at Ray who was just giving me a quizzical look, and looked at his car harness. There was no choice. I could not leave the parking lot until he was in his car harness.
I put the loop of the car harness over his head, and then mentally prepared myself for getting each of his front legs through the loops. I have done this quite a few times, but always where there was lots of space. Doing it with Ray standing on the backseat, and inches from me, posed some challenges. I looked at his feet, and the two loops, and realized that unless he could be moved just a little away from me, it was going to be difficult.
Ray then decided to take charge. He pushed his head into my stomach and, when I looked down to see what he was doing, he had one front foot lifted off the seat I quickly passed a loop over it, and then he put that foot down and lifted the other one. He was harnessed in a matter of seconds!
I can only guess that he knew Carol’s process so well, and observing my obvious challenges, decided to help me out. Who could not love a dog like that!