This analogy might sound a little odd, but I like to take my dog walking clients on a Test drive! No, I don’t mean I go to a car dealership and put the pooch in the back seat and roll down the window so they can feel the breeze on their tongue as we peruse the streets. Taking a four legged friend out for a short jaunt through my neighbourhood is incredibly helpful in allowing me to take stock of my charge, as there are so many variables to consider. I want to know what kind of torque I am dealing with from man’s best friend, is this one an old clunker or a porche? What kind of a pace can I expect, a leisure meander, a steady jaunt or a downright, aerobic run. How smoothly does my friend handle when we pass by it’s canine cousins, what kind of reaction can I anticipate? If a bunny or a cat, catches us off guard, will we pass by unfazed or will we go from zero to 60 in hot pursuit? It’s important for me to be able to evaluate if I can have other four legged friends join us on our trek, can we hit the cruise control and keep a nice stride or will I be constantly in need of pumping the breaks? I need to know if I can handle them if they hit the gas or will their be the potential for a crash and burn? The last thing I want to be doing is spending a half hour in defensive driving mode, trying to steer ourselves from mayhem, that’s exhausting! Taking a test drive is invaluable so I know what I can expect. Yesterday I took a big guy out for a loop, it had been a while since I had been behind the wheel with him! I was getting a handle on his particular quirks and figuring out what gear he liked to cruise in. Low and behold, this morning when I got him and my boy leashed up and ready to go I was rather surprised by how quickly he was able to accelerate, not sure if it was the time of day or the heat that had made him a bit sluggish the day before, but today he was in high octane mode! And wouldn’t you know it, I was wearing the wrong shoes! There is nothing worse than having a pair of loosey goosey slip ons on your feet when you know you might have to hit the brakes. I would like to say, even though I hadn’t made one hundred per cent of a correct assessment on my test run, we had a pleasant spin, albeit, a little choppy at times, but we were able to traverse our route and make it home safe and sound!