It was a warm evening as my buddy Marty and I assembled my new BBQ in my garage. It was about 7:00, we had a moderate amount of tools out, a couple of beers, and Holly and Jen, Marty’s wife were in the back yard munching on snacks and drinking wine. This was a ritual that used to happen more often when we were younger and living across the street from each other: I buy something, I try to build it, i can’t build it, I call Marty, Marty comes to the rescue and builds it for me. As we’ve grown older we’ve both become more proactive. So a couple of weeks ago I told Marty I had ordered a new BBQ he said, “great – you’ll need me to come over and help you build it”. And I said, “yep, I think it’s a two beer job”.
So as we were getting started I opened the door to let Kali out to the garage so she could hang out with us. She quickly lied down in the middle of the action. Although we live on a very quiet street whenever I’ll be in the garage with the door open for anything longer than a minute or so if Kali is there I put on her long 30 foot leash and tie it to the workbench. Kali is not a “runner” nor is she very interested in exploring past our front yard and 99% of the time she would be just fine staying close to me. But for the 1% chance that another dog or a cat would walk past the house all bets would be off. I am pretty sure that Kali would take off in hot pursuit with no regard for any command I would give her to sit, stay, or come. So I always eliminate that 1% chance and I tie her up.
Well, almost always.
Last night I let my guard down and didn’t put Kali on the long leash. Maybe it was the oh so calm night that convinced me it would be fine. Maybe it was the melancholy I was experiencing of hanging out in the garage doing a project with Marty just like the old days when we do this often with our little ones riding bikes and playing in the yard. Or maybe it was just laziness.
As we were about half way done assembling the BBQ I see a neighbor come by with their 90 pound Shepherd mix. I immediately look to see where Kali is so that I can grab her and make sure she doesn’t run out. But she’s sauntered off to greet my next door neighbor who had just pulled into his driveway. I see Kali in the next yard and I see that she doesn’t notice the Shepard mix approaching because my car was blocking her view as the dog and owners came walking down the street. For a brief moment I think I can navigate this situation and think that maybe even if Kali sees the dog she’ll just come back to the garage as soon as I call her. None chance – not even 1%.
Kali sees the dog and bolts towards him barking with teeth gnashing. As she got close she lunged and growled and the dog’s owners look concerned that this monster of a Golden Retriever was going to make mince meat of their dog. I ran to Kali calling her and apologizing to the owners all at the same time. They were cool but after about 30 or 45 seconds of this “dance” they were visibly upset. I didn’t blame them. Meanwhile Marty has run out into the street and is trying to corral Kali, and almost gets his hand on her collar. But she dodges him like Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns on a December Sunday. By now our wives have left their snacks and wine to see what the commotion is and stand in the garage watching Marty and I running around in the street like two blind three-legged border collies.
Kali finally retreats to the garage and Holly ushers her out the side-door into the back yard. I apologize again to the dog’s owners as they high-tail it down the street. Holly and Jen return to the back yard to enjoy the warm evening. Marty and resume assembly of the BBQ. Kali lies down in the back yard and tries to get her heartbeat back down to something less than 250 bpm.
So no real harm done but a good lesson, reminder actually, that 1% is 1% and if it happens then it’s 100%. As a worrier I think that Kali and I dodged a bullet. It could have been a cat across the street that caught her eye that she ran off after and a car, as unlikely as it is (1% chance?), would come speeding around the corner just at the wrong time.
So after all is said and done it was a great night:
Kali safe, great reminder for dad about being smart and always keeping Kali safe, a new awesome BBQ, delicious steaks, good wine, and best of all a great summer evening with our dear friends Marty and Jen.
Kali: “Is there a 1% chance I’ll get a little taste of meat from the new BBQ? After all I kept that big old Shepard mix away from the steaks, right?”