This is a long read. But it’s worth it, I promise.
My dog is the three-year-old brown pitt bull. Her name is Dolly. She has a red nose and a slight brindle coat. She LOVES to play and meet new people, and sometimes that eagerness can frighten people and other dogs. Especially when I’m pulling her back and she walks to them on two feet, panting like she wants to eat them.
My mother’s dog is the blond chihuahua. We call him Champagne. He has the cutest puppy face. But don’t let that fool you. He’s nearly 10 years old and is as crabby as an 85-year-old man. Sometimes rambunctious, but usually the little guy is glued to my mother’s hip.
Now, I take Dolly on a walk every morning. Champagne is an inside dog and doesn’t spend much – if any time – outside. But I thought I would start taking him out with me in the morning and see how he does. Surprisingly, he did great. He watched how Dolly would behave, and mimicked her.
Which brings me to a couple of days ago. My mother had been out of state. I was waiting for her to get home before I left with the dogs for our morning walk. Well as soon as Champagne sees my mother (and his as well I suppose), he loses his shit. I mean, the dog starts crying as if she had been gone for years. My mom is rushing to head inside, and I’m rushing to leave because they need to go potty. Well, his hollering only gets worse. I’m having to drag this chihuahua down the sidewalk while he’s screaming like I’m murdering him. My mom decides to take him in the house with her in order to calm him down. Which was fine by me because neighbors were opening their front door, curious, but also a little nosey, to what the screaming was for.
Which now brings us to yesterday. My sister and I had made plans to take an afternoon walk with the dogs, so long the weather stayed nice. Which it did. We’re down the sidewalk when my mother pulls up to curb, just coming home from picking up my brother from school. Champagne is more than excited to see her, but we drag him down the sidewalk with us anyway. Luckily, there wasn’t any hysteria. We take them to the park. Take them to another park. Then we take them to volleyball sand courts they have along the water. They are gated, and the dogs are easier to handle when off leash.
Dolly is off her leash, chasing around her ball, and Champagne looks like he might want to play. But my sister has some concerns. “I think he’s going to try and run home if we take him off,” she tells me. I think this is a silly concern, and placate her by telling her we’ll just pick him up if he tries to bolt. I unclip his leash and he just stands there and looks at us. We kick some sand on him and he starts barking and running around in circles, which is his normal manner of playing.
But then he bolts. He runs across the field, and up thirty steps of bleachers to where I know there’s busy traffic.
I didn’t hesitate. I ran after him. It didn’t even dawn on me to see if my dog was with me. All that mattered was the well being of my mother’s dog. A man ahead of us saw us running after him and took chase as well. Champagne runs across five lanes of speeding traffic, and didn’t have to stop, slow, or worry about getting hit. Again, there was no thought on my end. I threw myself into traffic to go after him. I scraped against one SUV, was hit on my left side by another. A bus clipped my right shoulder. And I felt nothing. Half way through traffic, I noticed Dolly had been running beside me. I told her to go get Champagne, and she took off after him. They run along the sidewalk. Champagne running faster than lighting can crash. Dolly, easily keeping up with him and glancing back to see if I was still behind them. Terrified I as going to lose Dolly too, I called her back and re-leashed her.
My sister and I, my dog, and a wonderful stranger chased after that damn dog down the sidewalk, and through six (maybe more) lanes of incoming traffic. And you know where that dog goes? Home. Well, not exactly home. A couple of doors down. My sister scoops him up and thanks the man who followed him. So we bring him inside and tell my mother what had happened, and I burst into tears. Of course, she was out she was more concerned for my sister and me than the dog.
But I couldn’t help myself. It was my fault he was off the leash, and it would have been my fault if he had been hurt or killed. And you know what else? Even though I hated him for the rest of the day, ten years of my life was shared with that grumpy chihuahua. Thinking back on it now, chasing after the dog through moving traffic was not the smartest thing to do. Would I do it again? Probably.
Today, I have mild soreness. A small bruise over my left ribs, and it aches when I turn a certain way. But other than that, I’m fine. Champagne acted like it never happened and Dolly thought of it as a wild adventure.
Moral of the story? Champagne will never be off leash again. And it’s probably going to be a long while before I take him out with me again.