Regular readers of this blog know that Holly is one of the loves of my life. She is 7 years old, very smart but at times stubborn. Yesterday, her stubborness almost led to tragedy.
I had just returned from the States in the early afternoon and was getting Holly ready to go to the groomer, which is several blocks away. Normally, I put a body harness on Holly and either walk her to Gail’s place or if the weather is bad, I’ll take her in the car. But I was running late so I quickly picked Holly up and took her to the car without her harness or leash. I should mention that she hates going in the car – she is actually very scared of any vehicle and I’m not sure why.
Anyway, I got to Gail’s house and opened the back door of the car to pick up Holly but before I could grab her, she jumped out onto the driveway and started to run down the street – in the opposite direction to how I always take her. I started yelling at her to come back but she only paused for a second, turned and looked at me and then continued running down the middle of the road. I continued to yell while running but my throat was getting raw and I was quickly exhausted from the run. At the end of the block was a main street and she didn’t stop to look both ways (what dog would?) as she turned right and that’s when I lost sight of her. When I got to the corner I couldn’t see her on the road but some people standing on the next corner down the street started to wave their arms at me and began excitedly pointing down the next street. I was shaking with terror at the thought of Holly being run over by a car. I could see vehicles stopping two blocks ahead and I was desperately screaming with what little voice I had left. My throat was getting so raw it started to bleed – I could taste the blood in my mouth. A teenager down the street came out of her house – hearing the screaming and started to chase after Holly. Two men on the next block quickly saw the commotion and tried to stop Holly but she turned left and continued running down the street where we live. One of the men on that corner started shouting “She’s almost at 40th Avenue!”
The street she was headed for is always busy with traffic and I knew that she would be surely hit by a car. At this point I was almost in tears – filled with a terror that I’ve never experienced before. Even when I got the news that I had stage 3 throat cancer and had only a 40% chance of surviving was not as scary as this.
“She just turned right at the bus stop!” one of the men shouted, as I neared that corner. I tried to thank them as I continued half running- half walking, but I had no voice left and tears were streaming down my face. If you are not a dog or pet owner, you might be thinking ‘Man up Danny, it’s only a dog’ but Holly is like a child to me. I’m sorry if that comparison offends you but like I said, most non-pet lovers would never understand or ‘get it’.
The bus stop is right beside my long driveway and I was desperately hoping that she went down the driveway to our home. Our home is not on the street – it is on what is known as a pan handle lot – and the driveway runs between two houses and is situated behind the houses on the street.
When I finally got to my house, Holly was sitting by the front door panting very hard – with a terrified look on her face. I unlocked the door and we went into the house to get her harness and lead. She was so stressed that she had pooped all down her hind legs. She knew that I was angry with her and I was. But I was more mad at myself for being so careless and stupid. I knew that Holly hated going to the groomer as much as she hated going to the vets and that’s why I always put her harness on whenever we leave the house. It was inexcusable that I had not put on her harness. We walked in silence back to the groomer. When we got to Gail’s house, she was really concerned and asked what had happened. I tried to explain but could hardly talk my throat was so sore.
“I saw you park your car in my driveway and then the next thing I saw was you running down the middle of the road!” she said, adding “I am so sorry, but many of the dogs that come for grooming are not happy to be here, but once they’re inside the house, they’re usually okay.” Gail is a professional groomer and you can tell that she loves dogs. She has been Holly’s groomer for several years. As I was leaving her house she mentioned that she would get some water for Holly.
When I drove home I was amazed by the two things that had happened.
- How Holly avoided getting hit by a car while running down the middle of the road(s) for several blocks.
- How Holly was able to find her way home, even though she had taken a route that we had never walked or driven on before that day!
Three hours later I drove to pick Holly up and she was very happy to see me. When she got into the car, she didn’t hide under the seat as she usually does. She was standing on the console between the front seats, wagging her tail and whimpering something. I had no doubt in my mind that what she was whimpering was “Sorry, Daddy…. please forgive me!” When we got home I gave her a treat and then we hugged each other for a very long time.
Maybe cats aren’t the only ones with 9 lives… if so, Holly and I now have only 8 remaining!