HAWKINSVILLE, Ga. -- A photo of a Hawkinsville woman being pulled in a sled-like contraption went viral on social media Wednesday.
The photo was of Daphene Lewis riding her dogs using a sulky as she went through the drive-thru at McDonald's in Hawkinsville.
Adam Kadan took the photo and shared it with 11Alive's sister-station in Macon, 13WMAZ, saying, "Never saw anything like it!"
The question was posed on Facebook asking, "Is it comfy or cruel?"
That set off a firestorm of comments from people chastising for daring to ask if it was cruel, to people saying they'd never do that with their dogs.
Several people also suggested finding Lewis, talking to her and doing a story. Done.
Lewis, who lives on a bamboo farm, 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."
13WMAZ's Nicole Butler spent the day with Lewis on her bamboo farm in Pulaski County to find out more.
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 when she hooks them up to the sulky.
But before she starts, Lewis wants to address some of viewers' comments about whether that is safe for the dogs.
"When you sit on this seat, your weight lifts the tip up and it lifts up on the dog," she explained. "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."
Now it's time for fun, and dogs are ready to go!
"There's a big difference in the amount of fun the dog has," she said. "It's much more fun with this than walking on a leash."
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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