Monday, June 15, 2009

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Just when you think you’ve got it all under control… WHAM! The universe knocks you back down, mocking you with its “Gotcha! You are so not in charge of things here!” Thus, a perfectly lovely day yesterday got blown out of the water when Krispy spooked on a short walk near my house.

All it took was one little misstep, one hiccup in the rhythm of our leisurely walk. One of us stopped or tripped or she had to smell something and my end of the leash pulled out of my hand to the sidewalk. That was when the perfect storm occurred. In less than half a second, as I was reaching (quickly) to pick it up, Krispy realized she wasn’t connected to me. She didn’t move in that first half a second, but I’m guessing she saw the look on my face that betrayed my seeming calm but actually looking like instant panic. I saw immediately in her face and behavior that she’d spotted my tell and was going to take me for a ride.

I tried to call her using my best Cesar Milan-style pack leader command as she turned on (all four) heels back towards home at a good clip. No dice. Then I tried to sound all sweet as if I had a treat to give her. Yeah, right! All of this took place within a few seconds while she was putting on speed towards the busy street. I had long given up my loose sandals to run after her. Thankfully she hung a sharp right at the street corner to head south back home. I must say it’s a scientific mystery to me how a dog with eight inch long legs can out run me at top speed.

I’m not exactly out of shape. When the sidewalk ended about 250 feet to the south, she moved onto the middle of the road. My worst nightmare! But I had anticipated this when she turned south on the sidewalk. So I had already run in the road myself to (hopefully) head her off. (And I knew that section of sidewalk she’d just raced over was littered with pebbles and debris – very unfriendly to running in my bare feet.)

So here we are both sprinting down a busy Napa street. I’ll leave out the scary details of Krispy galloping full-bore down Terrace Drive while I raced at my top speed after her – still not as fast as the little vixen herself. I’m sure I looked quite a sight running down the middle of the road, waving at all the traffic in Krispy’s moving-target path.

She had increased the distance between us to a full block. I had no idea how I was going to catch up with her as she would shortly be out of view over the crest in the hill. Then my neighbor drove by me (while I was still running), and he called out that he’d go after her and hit the gas to pull ahead towards her.

It was around this time I started to run out of steam; I’d been going at top speed for about a quarter of a mile watching Krispy‘s little red leash wiggle and snake behind her on the asphalt. And though it wasn’t a particularly hot day, this was also the time I began to realize the asphalt was blazing hot. So hot, in fact, that I’d have to get off the road. I spotted a patch of dirt and mown dead grass along the shoulder. (This section of Terrace Drive has no sidewalks.) And as I veered off the road into the short grass feeling my feet would shortly burst into flames, a couple who had been watching the whole drama unfold from a southern point on the road asked if the dog was mine. I nodded out of breath.

“I didn’t see where she went,” I told them sucking in chunks of air.

“Your dog turned up the driveway,” the man gestured behind me.

I turned around and started back a few feet to the weed-choked dirt drive. I also noticed my neighbor’s black SAAB pulled into the drive which I hadn’t seen in my race down the street. And as I walked a few feet up towards the house and car looking for Krispy I saw my neighbor, David, walking back from the rear of the property towards the car with the dog in his arms.

Relief! Success! “How did you catch her?” and “You are a life saver!” and “Thank G*d you were driving by!” If he hadn’t been going out on an errand at just that moment in time, I would still be chasing after Krispy…as she ran…on her way…to San Jose.

Postscript: Krispy Kreme is now curled up in my lap asleep. Obedience training is starting soon! My feet have big, big blisters on them.

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