When a friend calls to ask if I want to join her for a walk around the block with our dogs, I beg off. She’s caught me in the car running errands. A walk means switching gears and slowing down. It means not taking a yellow highlighter and crossing off a few more items on my long to-do list.
It’s only when I exit the grocery store do I realize how truly gorgeous the weather is. It’s an unexpected gift after the last week of near freezing temperatures and I’d be crazy to pass up the chance to spend time outside on a day like today. A chance to spend time with a friend is a gift equally as precious.
The two of us turn up Zig Zag, a busy street with wide brick-lined sidewalks that connects several neighborhoods in our town. Across the street, a little white dog steps closer to the road when he sees us approach.
Cars zoom past in the late afternoon rush of wanting to get home. The dog bounces towards us, wildly wagging its tail, just as a car zips past. Dogs were never ones to look both ways before crossing the street.
Another car approaches from the other direction and shows no indication of stopping. I put up my hand, a skill learned in my long-ago safety patrol days. Hold up, it says. Stop right there.
I run into the road and hook my finger into the dog’s collar. In the excitement, my two dogs jump and tangle their leashes around my legs and threaten to bring us all down. Cars now stop in both directions. We all shuffle across the street back to the safety of the sidewalk.
“Is there a tag?” my friend asks. I feel around the collar but don’t find a tag.
“No, but do you think it belongs to that house?” I point directly across the street.
Again, bent over, holding a collar and struggling with the tangle of leashes, the three dogs and I stumble towards the door.
The white dog pulls against his collar. I worry he’ll break free and run back towards the road.
Ring. Ring. Knock. Knock. An older gentleman answers the door with “how did she get out?” before I utter a word.
“Oh, good. She’s yours?”
He picks her up and carries her into the house, tossing explanations of broken fences and open gates over his shoulder. Anyone who’s seen me chase my dogs through our neighborhood knows I’m not one to judge.