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.
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.
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.
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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