What a scare Kali and I had this morning! By chance we found ourselves in the middle of an incredibly frightening event. We saw a young chocolate lab come within inches of tragedy.
Our walk started out pleasantly uneventful.
Kali still becomes very anxious around other dogs when we meet them along the trail. She’s getting better. Or I guess I can say we’re getting better. Through a considerable amount of time and training I’ve learned to help Kali stay engaged with me when we come across other dogs. Lately she’s more inclined to maintain eye contact with me instead of focusing on the other dogs and barking at them. Without knowing what Kali may have experienced as a homeless stray it’s hard to know exactly the reason for this anxiety. But lately, more often than not, we’re able to move along our way with little to no barking and a lower level of anxiety. I hope this progress will eventually lead to Kali’s ability to meet new dogs she encounters with a smile, a sniff, and new friendships.
Kali and I have a few routes we alternate between along our walking trail. But recently part of our main and favorite route was closed off requiring us to detour onto residential streets to get home. So today as we passed the closed off path and headed home I spied a young chocolate lab across the street. Her owner had let her out of her car off leash as she prepared to take the dog – “Mia” – and her toddler into an area where owners often allow their dogs to roam freely along the grassland and trails. The area is safe for the dogs as it is vast and, with the exception of the entry area, fenced off or surrounded by creeks and hills.
As the mother got out of the car Mia headed into the grassland. But then Mia saw Kali and I across the street. Kali was focused on me – her eyes looking at my hands and eyes hopeful for a training treat. Mia froze, barked, then bolted for Kali- heading directly across the street.
The 60 foot three-ton bus came speeding down the street, the mom looked up from her toddler and screamed at Mia to stay. Mia continued into the street with no awareness of the 6000 pound bus she was on a collision path with. I screamed, “NO!”. Kali barked, now aware of Mia and probably tuned into my stress level. The bus did it’s best to slow down, breaks squealing and transmission grinding. And then – it sounds corny but – time seemed to stop.
The bus slowly passed and went along its way. In the middle of the street stood Mia – unharmed. Thank God. Mia’s mom screamed, “Mia, no – bad! Bad Girl. Come back here. No!” Kali barked. I took a breath, ever so thankful that Mia was OK.
I composed myself, regained Kali’s attention, and we headed home. I couldn’t help but be a little mad at Mia’s mom. I scolded myself for being judgmental.
And then, I thanked God again. This time for Kali. My beautiful girl who was safe next to me as we walked back home. I think Kali knew I was a bit shaken from the event. She is so in tuned to me.
Kali and I walked back home in silence grateful that Mia was OK; and grateful for each other.