Real Life

Real life: I walked 40 dogs at once!

My arms were being pulled in two different directions, but I was on a mission.

By Brittany Smith

Maria Harman, 38, from Jamboree Heights, Qld, shares her story:

Sweat dripped from my brow as I clung tightly to the straining leashes.
"Steady on," I called out to the 40 dogs walking in front of me.
It felt like I was being pulled in a hundred directions, but I was determined to stay in control.
I'd trained for this exact moment for months.
A passionate pooch-lover, I'd worked as a veterinary nurse for eight years before becoming a dog trainer.
I seemed to understand them better than I did most people.
Pups never judged – they loved unconditionally.
I'd just gotten home from another busy day of training when I saw some friends had sent me a video on Facebook.
Me with a few of the dogs.
It featured a woman walking dozens of dogs to beat a world record.
"You could do that," my husband, Mark, encouraged.
Later that night, I looked up the Guinness World Records to see just how many dogs I'd need to walk.
The current record was 35 dogs, that had been walked one kilometre.
A sense of pride blossomed in me.
The most dogs I'd ever walked at once was 16 but suddenly I was determined to beat the record.
Just organising the dogs was no mean feat.
I filled out my application forms and started practising.
I carefully selected 40 of the calmest, most well-behaved dogs from my Behaving K9s business and walked with them all together.
I had to make sure the dogs got on well and were cooperative or I'd never make it across the finish line.
When the day rolled around, I was surprisingly calm.
But four of the dogs were mucking up, which left Mark a nervous wreck.
"They're distracting the other dogs," I called out to Mark. "Can you take them?"
With four dogs out I only had 36 – exactly the number I needed to break the record.
There was no room for mistakes.
Me and the pooches doing our best on the day.
My heart pounded as I walked the 36 dogs in two straight lines.
When I crossed the finish line I was exhausted.
It wasn't until all the dogs had been given back to their owners that I finally breathed a sigh of relief.
I'd done it!
I'm still waiting for confirmation from the Guinness Book of Records, but I know I smashed the test.
Every dog has their day and now I've had mine, too!
That's not the only dog -related record out there, check out the biggest meeting of Border Collies below!

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