I'm sitting out on the deck, watching the weather come in. The dog is under the table as the small drops start; I am under the eaves. We are pensive, sleep-deprived, replaying in our heads the events of the previous night. To the dog, it was an adventure, the kind that will inspire dreams for years to come. To the dog's owners, it was just another wild chapter in our relationship with the ornery creature we love too much.
The dog had been a bit off the last couple days. Everything seemed normal, but for the poop situation. When she went, it was like opening a faucet. By yesterday afternoon, after constantly monitoring her offerings, I had pronounced her cured. But then it started again late last night. She was reluctant to go into her crate at her normal 10 p.m. bedtime. Once in, she wanted to come out again. By 12:30, we decided she needed to go out - I took her out front. After a few minutes, she had taken care of business and we were back in the house again. We all went back to bed.
Later, I woke from a dead sleep and heard Amy talking to the dog as they went out the front door. I looked at the clock radio; it was 3:30. The A/C was off and the windows were open.
"Suki, come back! --- Okay, I'm going home without you. --- Bye, bye! --- Daddy's calling."
Amy was shouting. For her to be using those particular words could only mean one thing: the dog was off the leash. As I lay there considering getting up, my thoughts ran from how this could be, to hoping the dog was not in the road, to what the neighbors must have been thinking. I heard the two of them coming back into the house, just as I had decided to join the chase.
I got the story in bits and pieces, late last night and again this morning. Amy had heard the dog making noises in her crate, as if she needed to go out. In the dark, she hooked the leash to the wire ring that holds the dog's tags, instead of the solid steel D-ring attached to the collar. Once they hit the sidewalk, the dog spotted a half-dozen deer in the road a couple houses down. When she lunged in that direction, she pulled the wire ring apart and got loose. She took off down the road after the deer.
Miraculously, Amy's shouts had worked and the dog came back on her own. As unruly as she normally is, she often comes when called - well, at least when she wants to. She was probably feeling outnumbered by the small herd she was pursuing. Or, maybe, she realized she wasn't going to catch them anyway.
Usually, when we are walking her, she just stares at them. Earlier in the evening, on her regular walk, we had seen plenty of them. One yearling buck and Suki stared at each other for several minutes from just 20 feet apart. It will be interesting to see what happens the next time we run across the neighborhood herd. One thing is for sure, the leash will be attached to the correct ring.