Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Held to my heart

In obedience class, we practiced calling the dogs. We tied them onto 50-foot lengths of rope and let them run off, then called to them. They had to run straight to the owner and sit promptly for praise and a treat. Indy learned to do it every time, on his marks. So the day the electricians left the back gate open and I didn't notice, I wasn't overly worried. But once Indy hit the grassy corridor on the other side of the garage, all his training went right out of his head. He saw the open space and took off. I called to him, keeping my voice cheery, but he ran on, almost making it to the brush that separated the easement from the busiest street in the neighborhood before he heard another dog barking and turned back.


Several of the dogs in our neighborhood are friends, and their owners will often sit and chat while the dogs run around loose in a nearby yard. Indy always wants to join in, and even tries to leap and wrestle as best he can with his leash fastened securely to my wrist. Yesterday we stopped briefly to say hi to two of his buddies, Mikey the border collie and Henry the husky mix. Mikey and Henry were romping in Mikey's yard, and Indy so badly wanted to play. He sat politely on the sidewalk, tail wildly oscillating behind him. "Aww," Mikey's owner said. "Let him play for awhile." But all I could picture was his shiny black coat, his perfectly floppy ears, his magical extra toes, all of it disappearing down the street at a run.


We're having my car detailed tomorrow, but I didn't want to be off work and stranded at home without a vehicle, so we dropped the CR-V off tonight and planned to share the Cavalier in the morning. MB had to go into school for a few hours to meet with a student, so I dropped him off and then went home for a bit. When it was time to pick him up, I took Indy along. He's visited the school before, and likes to explore the grassy margins of the lot. The campus is in the flatlands on the far east side of town, so far out that it has an address in the next county. A wide drainage ditch separates the lawn from a scrubby field, and Indy is always exceptionally interested in the ditch. In a perfect world, or a Hallmark channel movie, we could leap over the ditch and hit the field running, roughhousing among the cornstalk stumps and calf-high weeds. But in reality, the ditch is sludgy and smells a little off. I am wearing ridiculously impractical shoes, green leather Ecco wedges that make me feel sexy but would keep me from moving any faster than a quick walk. The field is only 200 yards from a six lane expressway.


The cliché says if you love something, set it free. Sometimes if you love something, the only thing to do is keep an eye on it, check the gates twice, and hold on as tight as you can.

(New review up at badgerbooks if you're interested. It's a great book!)

1 comment:

  1. that's my philosophy, too. may not be the best, but it works for me.