Two puppies ago, for Darby, a friend loaned us her dog stroller. As ridiculous as it might seem, the stroller won our affections. When you’re raising a CCI puppy, one of your most important missions is to train the dog to walk nicely on a leash; any service dog-wannabe that pulls and jerks its handler would be a disgrace. It can take weeks to introduce the puppy to proper walking (and months to perfect it). Rather than give up my morning walks to my local coffee shop or our weekly hour-long hikes up Mt. Soledad during this teaching phase, we plopped Darby into the borrowed stroller and took her along that way.
When we acquired Dionne (puppy #5), I found a lightly used stroller on Craig’s List, bought it, and once again found it to be useful. The stroller phase is so short I felt a little guilty for paying for even a second-hand puppy pram. But now that we’re using it for Kyndall, I’m so glad I did.
As with Dionne, Kyndall screeched and barked and yowled the first time we put her in it. Like her predecessors, she jumped out several times. We had a leash snapped to her little collar, so she couldn’t bolt away, and as alarming as this maneuver looks, the puppies seem to survive the plunge unscathed. We then zipper them in, which they hate.
They bite at the canvas and try to dig their way out:
Kyndall discovered a chink in the stroller’s armor and spent most of her first rides this way:
But now she’s doing much better. Yesterday, we strolled her, unzipped, all the way up to the top of the mountain, then stopped at the coffee shop, an almost 2-hour excursion. She didn’t leap out once, and kept the verbal complaints to a minimum. It’s pretty clear she’d rather be trotting along down on the ground, rather than looking down at it. But that will come soon enough.