Standard Disclaimer: Right. I don't own Harry Potter.
Acknowledgements: My sister and I came up with this story together. Major props to my little sister.
Also, a big thank you to Karity and Yas for being my beta readers.
A knock at the door interrupted Dumbledore's pacing. "Enter."
"Sir," Harry said, stepping into the Headmaster's office, "can I talk to you?"
"Harry, my dear boy, of course. Did you enjoy your Christmas holidays? How is Sirius?"
"That's what I want to talk to you about, sir. Sirius isn't doing well locked up at Grimmauld Place, by himself all the time. He feels like he's still in prison. And he's lonely."
"Do you have any suggestions?"
"Well..." Harry thought, "he came with me to King's Cross as a dog and he was okay. Couldn't he be allowed out when he's a dog? Just sometimes?"
"You're really concerned for him?"
"I'll see if we can't arrange something."
"Thank you, professor."
The following evening, an emergency meeting of the Order of the Phoenix convened at the Burrow, with the only obvious exclusion being Sirius Black.
"I'm sure you're all wondering why I've called you here," Dumbledore began. "Harry came to my office yesterday evening very concerned for Sirius' health and state of mind. Being alone in the house, unable to leave, is wearing on him, and I think I've come up with a feasible solution."
"Is this really the 'emergency', sir?" Severus asked. "Black's mental state?"
Dumbledore ignored him and continued, "Harry thinks, and I agree with him, that it would be all right for Sirius to leave the house, accompanied of course, if he remained in his Animagus form."
"Sir," Molly said, "do you think this is quite necessary? Wouldn't that put him at risk?"
"I believe he's a bigger risk if we don't. Left alone, with nothing to do, he's becoming depressed, anxious, possibly unstable... I wouldn't want him going into battle like that. So, I'm going to put together a schedule. Every Tuesday and Saturday, one of you will go to Grimmauld Place and take Sirius out for a nice, long walk."
Severus gave a stern look to Dumbledore. "Sir."
"Don't worry, Severus, you won't be on the schedule..."
"Yes!" Severus looked triumphant for a moment.
"...because I need you to teach Harry Occlumency."
Severus' face fell. "What!"
"So, who can go on Tuesdays and who can only go on weekends?"
Sirius paced his front corridor. Hedwig had arrived a few days earlier with a long letter from Harry. The letter had contained a long tirade against Umbridge, an unpleasant account of Harry's first Occlumency lesson, and an explanation of Dumbledore's plan to keep Sirius sane.
The doorbell rang and several members of the Order filed in, led by Dumbledore.
"Good morning, Sirius. Are you ready for a nice walk?"
"I guess," he said, and then shifted into a large black dog. He shook his head and wagged his tail.
Dumbledore presented a turquoise and lavender plaid collar and matching lead. Sirius cocked his head to the side and gave Dumbledore a quizzical look.
"Do you like the collar Molly and I picked out for your excursions?"
Sirius didn't react.
"All right then." Dumbledore put the collar on Sirius and attached the lead. "Let's go for a walk."
Dumbledore headed outside, Sirius walking placidly beside him, the skeptical Order members following behind. If a man dressed in periwinkle robes walking a black dog the size of a small horse followed by half a dozen similarly dressed people was drawing weird looks, none of them seemed to notice.
"See!" Dumbledore said. "He's walks splendidly on a lead. There's nothing to worry about."