Last night I learned something new about myself. I panic quite easily.
I was walking the dog at the usual time, just after six pm. We headed in the direction of one of the soccer fields that is off-leash friendly this time of year. Since it was dark and drizzly I figured it would be a good time to go; we would have the entire area to ourselves. Other than the lights from the school yard, the field is not lit up at night. It can be a great space to play hide-and-seek.
Apparently, it can also be dangerous.
As usual, I made Shiva wait after I unclipped her leash. Before releasing her I ran out ahead in a version of a chase game. As soon as I give the “go” command Shiva typically runs after me. So confident am I of this action that sometimes I don’t even look back to make sure she’s following me. I just keep running, waiting to hear the jingle of her collar. This time there was a jingle, but it headed in the opposite direction.
Frustrated, I stopped and turned around to look for her. As I mentioned, it was dark and I had trouble spotting her anywhere on the field. With all the clouds I couldn’t even use the moon as a light. Not good. I figured Shiva was probably sniffing at something disgusting and I headed back to where I’d left her. That’s when I caught movement up head. That’s also when the panic took over my normally logical brain.
There Shiva was, on the other side of the fence, right next to a very busy road, in the dark.
Eating dirt, of all things.
I lost it. I started screaming her name like a banshee. Naturally, she didn’t even look up. Shiva was probably hoping nobody would associate that deranged human with her. I wouldn’t have come to me either. Once I forced myself to calm down, I took a deep breath and called out to her in a bright, cheerful tone.
Now that I wasn’t howling like I was on PCP, she came trotting over to sit beside me like she hadn’t just been inches from death.
Which, of course, she hadn’t been. It was only my over-dramatic brain that imagined thus. Evidently where my dog’s safety is concerned, I lose all form of common sense. This does not bode well for the future.
I have decided to wrap one of my husband’s reflective vests around her every day for the rest of her life. It should fit over the bullet-proof jacket and ten layers of bubble wrap that I will also strap over her delicate body. My bicycle helmet doesn’t quite fit but I found if I stuff the insides with more bubble wrap and staple the straps together I can make it stay on. It should work until I can afford a house big enough to fit an indoor track so that she never has to go outside again.
Even then I’ll probably still keep it up with the bubble wrap. Just in case.