Last year, an article called "Four Ways to Walk a Dog" came out in the Atlantic Monthly. It was about four methods of bending dogs to the will of a human being. There is, however, a young woman in my neighborhood who frequently appears on the street walking four dogs--at the same time. And she uses one method.
Walking four dogs is unusual but not unheard of. What's impressive is that these are not her dogs; they belong to other people. The young woman, Gail Goldman, operates a small business called Muttwalkers, Etc. Often the dogs have never seen one another before Goldman picks them up. Sometimes they have never even seen her.
You'd never know it, though. It is a regular festival going down the sidewalk. Four bushy tails waving like pennants, eight furry ears perked up like radar screens, 16 paws bouncing along like pogo sticks. Since dogs, especially strange ones thrown together, react like human beings on making new acquaintances and must establish a pecking order, this business of walking dogs could be tricky indeed. I asked Goldman how she did it. "I just talk to them real sweetly," she said, kneeling down and wrapping a big hug around a Samoyed, which shimmied in pure ecstasy. "And I love 'em to death."