The Captain America of Dog Walking
Captain America flew over the sand dunes landing smack in the middle of my dog walk.
Lisa Gates |
Posted: September 17, 2014, 4 p.m. PST
My friend Brac, aka Captain America, aspired to save the world of dog walking. In a grand voice, he announced he was starting a dog walking service like no other. Most dog walkers start out like this with the enthusiasm of kids on Christmas morning, full of hope, optimism and excitement. That is until they find out Santa forgot their new bike and left a rocket ship that only worked for two launches. Brac’s spirit gave me pause, causing me to wonder if he took medication or was one of those annoyingly happy people who are all smiles until you disagree with them. At the time of my tremendous fortune in meeting Captain America, I had been a professional dog walker for 5 years. I appreciated his charisma but knew the grim reality.
A decorated Lieutenant of Desert Storm, Brac returned from serving four years in the Marines. In fantastic shape and pillar of health, Brac planned to create a service similar to training for triathalons, decatholons, agilitythons and all thons. It was boot camp for dogs energetic like his Labrador, Rocky. But Rocky’s liveliness focused more on humping dogs, stuffed animals, people, air or anything not bolted down. All kidding aside, Rocky was fun loving with no ill intentions. Not an evil humper, but a playful one. May he RIP with humping opportunities at the Rainbow Bridge.
Why Dog Dogs Hump?>>
Brac with Trigger, the dog who humps lamb chop but 'really it is just a puppy thing
I explained the realities of dog walking, sharing my experiences that things don’t always go as desired. He insisted he was different. He handed me his card and launched himself back over the dunes into the sunset, cape blowing behind him.
All the professional dog walkers noticed his flashy flyers at beaches and parks; "NEW DYNAMIC DOG WALKING SERVICE LIKE NO OTHER. BOOT CAMPS, TRIATHALONS FOR DOGS. THE ULTIMATE DOG WALKING EXPERIENCE!” We took bets on how long this would last and when sensibility would set into his world of dynamic dog walking.
A fellow dog walker sold her business to him. After a year, she drank the truth serum, understanding it wasn’t a simple walk in the park. Thrilled about his new found fortune, Brac started the world’s best dog walking service. During the next two months, I ran into Captain America full of vitality and earnest. Things couldn’t have been better for our super hero. His conviction was beyond anyone I had come across. I thought I lost the bet, until a month later.
I saw this person with similar features as our rock star but without the spit and vigor. This unshaven, dirty human in torn clothes had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and Brac did not smoke. The job had broken him. He admitted the first two months were fantastic but then it became one shit show after another. Dogs rolling in poop, clients calling at all hours of the night to discuss context of fluffy’s poop, people yelling at him trying to convince him he missed a poop and everything wrong in the world was his fault, falling in dirt, but the turning point was the cliff story.
He took seven dogs to a beach that could only be accessed by sandy cliffs. You could walk down carefully or slide on your ass to the water. Brac thought ‘what an adventure.’ He and his pack flew down the cliff but suddenly noticed the tide coming in. He started back up but the dogs could not make it up the loose sandy hill. He had to carry them up one by one but whenever he reached to the top, they would follow him back down again. He recruited a hiker, handing him three leashed dogs and instructing him to hold tight while he went down to get the others. One dog was a 150 pound Great Dane. When Brac finally got everyone up the cliff, the guy’s hand was blue. In all the excitement, the dogs had wrapped him up and were pulling so hard it cut off his blood supply. Brac grabbed the leashes from the poor soul and his hand returned to normal pigment. Brac mentioned the exhaustion rivaled a 25 mile humb (no, that is not a miss spelling but what Marine’s call for walking in full combat gear not what his dog Rocky did). Later that night, the Corgi owner called to find out why her dog threw up seaweed. My response "you had a Corgi join your dynamic, extreme dog walking?”
Brac felt defeated BUT not broken. He still loved dogs but admitted not having the energy it took to run, swim and do decathalons on a daily basis.
He sold his business in 2000 , heading back to school for his masters and doctorate in psychology. All was not lost on this experience as he gained inspiration to save the human race by becoming Captain America of therapists. Brac Selph lives in Mill Valley with his wife, who incidentally met him during his dog walking escapade, thinking he was a homeless man. They have two kids and a yellow Labrador named Trigger who humps a lamb chop but "it’s just one of those puppy reactions” (sources tell me, he used the same excuse for Rocky). Brac has a successful therapy practice in Mill Valley and San Francisco; Bracselph.com
Foot note: Brac Selph’s response to this post: "Finally I get to be a super hero. No one in my family thinks I am a super hero.”
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