Scott Hollifield: The Terrifying Tale of the Deadly Dog Leash

Nothing is as simple as it seems, not even a dog leash.

My old min pin, who is still spunky and spry enough to give the mailman 40 hells once a day, likes to stroll the sidewalks and city streets, sniffing and squatting and seeing – though she’s now half blind – what’s new in the neighborhood.

The retractable leash I had was perfect, but it disappeared about the time my daughter ended her visit and returned to Charlotte. I suspect that perfect retractable leash is being used in a fancy big-city dog park with her pure-breed curly-tailed something-or-other, but I have no solid proof.

I was left with a substandard non-retractable leash that simply did not do the job, so I was off to the closest poor people’s store to find something better.

The choices were few but a couple were retractable and I picked one. Back home, I perused the packaging and came upon a warning nearly as long and scary as a Stephen King novel. It informed me I had purchased a complicated, dangerous device that could be deadly if misused. Let’s break down the warning as written.

* For use by responsible adults only! Do NOT use this leash on uncontrollable or disobedient dogs.

That disqualified both the dog and me right there. The mailman can attest to that.

* Follow all operation instructions. Failure to do so can cause…serious facial, head and eye injuries to you or your dog. The leash and hook can also cause serious cuts, abrasions, burns and amputations to anyone.

Amputations to anyone? Was this a dog leash or a deadly Terminator-like laser weapon from the future?

“Hey, Bill. How ya doing? I’m just out walking the dog on this beautiful – LOOK OUT! You’re going to want to put a tourniquet on that immediately.”

Those who can be harmed or maimed by the leash include “children, infants & pets who come in contact with the leash or hook.” I became concerned that even looking in the general direction of the leash could have dire consequences.

“Please, everyone, do not provoke the leash. Uncle Steve did and he is gone and there is nothing we can do to bring him back. All we can do at this point is try to avoid the wraith of the leash and stay alive. TIMMY, NO!”

* Never wrap the leash around any body parts.

That’s a good rule of thumb for about anything, really.

* DO NOT use this retractable leash if on medication that makes you sleepy or groggy, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Follow that warning and we cut walks back to about once a month. If I have to pee in a cup before we hit the street so she can pee on a phone pole, it’s not worth the hassle.

* DO NOT attempt to open the housing to repair this retractable leash. Refrain from using the leash if becomes frayed, damaged or is not working properly.

That indicates to me the leash will malfunction almost immediately, I will be tempted to open the housing to see what is wrong and I will either lose a finger or unleash a demon from within, bringing about an end to civilization as we know it.

Maybe the warning should say this instead: “DO NOT buy this leash. It’s cheap and dangerous. It will possibly kill you, your pet and random children. Spend a little more money and buy a leash that does not carry a disturbing amputation warning. Better yet, text your daughter and tell her if she brings the perfect retractable leash back home, you will buy her that pony she always wanted. Then, when she agrees, say ‘Aha! I knew you took it. Bring it back or you’re out of the will.”

It’s as simple as that, even if nothing is as simple as it seems.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News and a humor columnist. Contact him at or write P.O. Box 610, Marion, NC 28752.

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