I have been thinking for some time now that I won't always have to prepare for a walk with Fozzie like I'm going into a war zone, with multiple harnesses to keep him in check, a wrist brace to ensure I can withstand his lunging, a fat pouch of treats to arm us for the distractions to which he is so sensitive, and a mental state on hair-trigger alert for the possibility that we will encounter another dog, at which moment I usually gasp, reflexively utter something along the lines of "Oh crap," beg that the person give us a minute, and wrangle a tangled mass of jumping lunging barking dogs behind a car, bush, or house, or run in the other direction.
Eventually, Fozzie will be 15 years old, arthritic, deaf, blind, or incapacitated in some way, and he'll be far more manageable. I only have to suffer through the next 12 years of my life or so, and everything will be just fine.
Then I read a couple of posts by Jodistone and Kristine at Rescued Insanity that made me feel there might be hope, even for Fozzie. Stories about once-reactive dogs who now have moments, or even whole days, or, in fact, what looks like long-term trends, of calmness on leash when around other dogs.
Will Fozzie ever get there? I think a lot of it depends on whether I ever find the time and the will to take him on more individual walks, without the other little firebombs. And if I ever overcome my foster compulsion long enough to keep it down to two dogs and give Fozzie more of the individualized attention he needs.
Until then, we have our props that make leash walks possible, if not particularly relaxing.
And I suppose I'll always look a little...eccentric...during our walks.