Filed under: Adventures in "Motherhood"
My morning started like every other… The alarm sounded, I rolled over and promptly turned it off, giving myself another 30 minutes of rest that I likely didn’t need before jumping out of bed at 8:30 a.m. After a quick visit to the restroom, I tossed a hoodie over my tank top and went outside with my dog so she could do her business.
Just last week, my landlords – who are also my next-door neighbors – fenced in our yards (together) so their one-year-old son could play, and my Sophie girl as a result, without worries of little bodies meandering into the streets filled with oncoming vehicles. Sophie had been behaving very well in the yard while enjoying her sans-leash freedom for the last few days, so this morning I tucked the purple leash into my hoodie pocket as we greeted the morning air.
NOTE: As I continue this story, follow the diagram*. My neighborhood is really old and strangely planned, but this is what the block of Mill Village – all small mill houses, nearly identical in size, layout, etc. – looks like. The numbers detail my story and the sequence of events. The *blue lines* are fences; the *black lines* are streets; the *red blocks* are houses; the *green dots* are trees and shrubery; and the *purple dot* is my trash can. We begin in my yard, bottom center.
She did her thing – #1 and #2 – and as I dumped her droppings into the garbage on the other side of the fence after ensuring my dog was still within the gate’s perimeter, her tiny puppy frame squeezes underneath the door and makes a run for it (1).
At first, I don’t panic. A dog lives next door so she’s slowly sniffing every blade of grass as I walk back into my yard and start yelling her name in the hopes that she’ll come back through the now-open gate. But she doesn’t. Instead, she moves further into their yard. And then, because they used to live around the corner, she slowly moves into that yard (2) to work on smelling each inch of that area.
I follow her despite knowing my dog is not one to be chased. If you go after her, she runs, but I simply could not turn my back on her and cross my fingers she’d return home. I had to stay as close as possible to ensure she didn’t dart into the streets and become another piece of roadkill. What kind of doggie-parent would I be, after all, if I let my one-year-old puppy be smooshed by a Nissan Sentra that zoomed by?
And just when I’d get close enough to possibly snag her collar, boom, she’d swiftly back away then bolt elsewhere (3).
The corner house posed a problem: two streets, i.e. two opportunities for my dog to be flattened. Not good. So I snuck around to the edge of the property. Clearly she had no desire to run to me – I apparently suck – and was maneuvering the opposite direction. Thus, if I stayed on the perimeter, she’d wander inward. And she did (4).
At this point, I’ve been eyeing my dog for 20 minutes, repeatedly yelling “Sophie!” in a variety of tones and voices, and trespassing onto my neighbors’ property all while wearing blue sweats from Victoria’s Secret, a Penn State hoodie reading “I tailgate with the best,” and without a bra. Awesome, right? And since I naively assumed my outdoor adventure would last no more than five minutes before my morning shower, I was without glasses or contacts with the ruins of my Wednesday evening makeup still adorning my face. More or less, I was a hot mess chasing a black blur around the block (5).
Then I saw a glimmer of hope. With her nose to the ground, she wandered into a yard where I knew two dogs resided (6). These two animals were notorious for barking at everything just before you heard their owners screaming as a result of the noise. Realizing how long I had been outside at this point – my feet slipping around my flipflops because of the morning dew – I quietly begged and pleaded for those dogs to cause chaos because my Sophie was in their terrority. All I wanted was for those owners to come outside and perhaps they could help me catch my 20 lb pup.
But no. Instead a six-year-old boy chased his terrier mix, Oreo, around as that dog and mine played in the yard. I waited for her to tire, to stop and catch her breath so I could make my move. But Sophie grew bored with Oreo and left the scene (7 & 8.).
My frustration levels were high, my feet were wet, my hopes dwindling that I’d ever get my ass to work. And then this dog of mine crept into another corner yard (9).
I’d chased Sophie around most of these parts before, but this was unfamiliar territory for her and I. This was a new yard. The others, she had a brief familiarity with, but not this one, and I was entirely unsure if she’d finally make a break for it and cross the street or not.
Then she stopped. Completely stopped. For some unexplainable reason, the resident of this home had thrown two halves of a ham and cheese sandwich into his/her tiny garden growing within cinder blocks. I kid you not. A row of cinder blocks with potted plants sat behind the home and my dog was desperate for a piece of that sandwich, which I took fast notice of … so I picked it up.
With no clue whatsoever if this sandwich would be dirty or moldy or filled with bugs, I threw one half back into the garden and held the other. Luckily, and most certainly to my relief, the sandwich was perfectly clean and fresh as if it were made only minutes ago. My dog stared at my hand.
“Sit, Sophie,” I said. And she did. I squated down. “Shake hands,” I told her, and her little left paw raised up.
And bam, 45 minutes after our excursion began, I grabbed her collar, throwing the sandwich piece back into the garden. I pulled the leash from my pocket, snapped it on, and trotted back home as I repeatedly said, “Bad girl. Very bad girl” to the still-hungry puppy by my side.
* Yes, I know how lame this is, but serious confusion may erupt without my super-awesome drawing.
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