Sunday, August 11, 2013
That, of course, is an innocent enough question unless you are in the parking lot of the dog park and only one dog jumps out of the car.
Then it becomes something of a high-pitched shriek tinged with panic. Hathaway has not jumped out of the car. That can only mean he was left in the driveway. Outside. Alone.
We have a habit when going to the park: I open the door to the back seat, then get into the driver's seat. The dogs jump in, I reach back to close the door, and off we go. Now and then, I'll stand at the door while they jump in, but often when that's the case Hath wants a boost even though he's perfectly capable of jumping in on his own. My aging back doesn't like that, so I started getting in myself. He jumps in. I close the door.
I would like to think I would exhibit grace under pressure. You know, show that calm reserve that assures everyone that everything is OK and under control. But today taught us that -- when it comes to my dog -- there's not a chance in Hell that'll happen.
During and after the shrieking and swearing I was trying to simultaneously get in the car to speed home to my boy and call the house to have my son see if the dog was outside. But since using the iPhone is not my strong suit on a steady-handed day, as I was trying to phone home (Step 1: touch picture of telephone; Step 2: touch word "Home") every other app started flying open as each was inadvertently touched and swiped. No camera. No Shazam. Where's the stupid seatbelt. No Bejeweled Blitz 2. Pedal to the metal. No Clock. Punch. Punch. Punch. Phone! Yes! CALLING HOME.
Thankfully, Josh picked up on the first ring. "Yo."
It is 1.7 miles from my house to the dog park. It takes about 7 minutes to get from Point A to Point B, depending on the stoplights and traffic. In the first two-tenths of a mile, I was having visions of Hath trying to follow the car to the park along the busy street and the state highway. And of course, there was that scene from "Vacation" when the trooper holds up the end of the lease and says to Clark Griswold, "Poor little guy. He probably kept up with you for a mile or two ... " over and over and over again.
At the second red light -- 5 minutes after I realized he was missing, 15 minutes since we'd left him -- it dawned on me that I could have sent Josh outside to find his beloved bully hit by a car or some other fate. I was trying to be calm and rational, but between the tears and the thought that I drove off without my dog, neither calm nor reasonable was on the current agenda.
As I was breaking the ninth or 10th traffic law, the phone rang: "Home." "Hello?" (violation No. 11)
Josh: "It's OK Mom. He's inside now. What did you do? Drive off and leave him? The poor guy was standing by the door, looking out at the driveway."
I got to the house a few minutes later and when I walked in the door, Hathaway was right there to lick my knees, looking relieved and maybe a little hurt ("You left me behind, Mom!)
We eventually made it to the park and had our walk. I probably looked ready to be carted off, quietly having fits of tears or laughing or both (I mean seriously, picture Hathaway running alongside the car trying to keep up once he'd been left behind.)
Down the road, we'll probably joke about it. ("Hey, remember that time when Mom drove off without the pit bull? Um, d'ya she ever did that with us?") But, you can bet, I will not pull out of the driveway again without taking attendance first.