Daphene Lewis trains dogs for a living and she's even taught them to cart her around town in a sulky. Now a photo of the Georgia woman and her dogs at a McDonald's drive-thru has gone viral, with some commenters calling it cruel.
Lewis, who lives on a bamboo farm in Hawkinsville, is the owner of Chalo Sulky, a company that trains dogs and teaches the use of sulkies.
She says, "It doesn't hurt them at all. It's just great exercise for them."
Living on a farm, Daphne Lewis' five dogs can't wait to go out for their daily exercise, and she says one of their favorites is pulling the sulky.
She believes there's nothing cruel about it.
"When you sit on this seat, your weight lifts the tip up and it lifts up on the dog. So people worry that you are putting weight on the dog. You're not. You are actually lifting up on his harness. They are very easy to pull because they have very big tires, but it's much easier to pull than people think," Lewis says.
A reporter with our sister station WMAZ spent the day on the farm and said the dogs seemed to enjoy it.
"There's a big difference in the amount of fun the dog has. It's much more fun with this than walking on a leash," Lewis says.
Lewis not only sells sulkies, but she also wants to make this a sport, saying the hardest part is just training them with the proper commands.
Lewis has certain commands to let the dogs know what she wants them to do. "G" means to go right, "Ha" means to go left. "Wait" means to stop, and "Pull" means to go.
But if you are interested in this new form of exercise but aren't sure if your dogs will behave, no worries -- she says everyone has that problem, even herself. She is still trying to train her collie who easily gets distracted.
"I always put him in the middle and put the two black dogs on the outside. It's sort of like having the adults on the outside, and the ding-a-ling in the middle," Lewis laughs.
Getting to go miles around the countryside, Lewis says her dogs always have a tail-wagging good time.
Lewis says her stop at McDonald's was the first she's ever made into town and looks forward to doing it again in the future.
For more information about how to get one of these sulkies, click here.
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