If you mess up, ‘fess up. ~Author unknown
I knew better.
Dogs should be in crates — or somehow secured — when riding in a car. They should be taught to Come When Called.
And Shelties just might be the best escape artists ever.
If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know my little Monkey was a pretty sick pup for the first year-and-a-half of his life.
Consequently, I failed to teach him things he needed to learn. I mean, really, how do you train a pup when you can’t feed him treats without upsetting his already-sickly tummy?
I also failed to be firm when I needed to, letting him get away with all kinds of stupid monkey business.
And the other day, we both nearly paid for my failures with his life.
(Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but you need to know how serious I am … and how guilty I still feel.)
Monkey had a vet appointment for a vaccination.
No big deal. We’ve done that sort of thing before. But Monk gets real anxious, pacing and panting. He refuses to ride nicely in his crate; instead, he whines and scratches the sides before making that gagging sound like he’s going to give his lunch the heave-ho.
Hard to keep one’s eyes on the road with all that commotion.
When we left, Gramma asked me to drop off something inside the Post Office that needed to be mailed.
I didn’t want to. I feared that, despite the relative cool temps, somebody would smash my car windows while I was gone in an over-vigilant effort to “save” my sweltering dog.
Gramma was insistent.
Well, Monk hopped in the front seat with me holding his harness and leash to make sure he wouldn’t fly through the windshield if I had to make a sudden stop.
Getting to the P.O., I parallel parked, grabbed the letter, and turned the car off, instructing Monk to “wait right here” and I’d be “back in a minute.”
No sooner had I opened the door — even before I could extricate myself from the car — Monkey had slipped between me and the driver’s seat and out onto the pavement.
My heart shot into my throat.
There Monk stood, leash dragging limply beside him. Staring wildly in all directions.
Frozen with fear.
You can’t run after a Sheltie — they’ll just panic and run away. Still, I jumped out of the car, gasped when I noticed an older-model van approaching on our side, and yelled for Monkey to stop and come back.
Miraculously, he did.
He jumped in the car and so did I, our heats pounding in presto time. I hugged him fiercely and offered fervent Thank You prayers for what surely could have been an untimely trip to the Rainbow Bridge for him.
I’m still quaking, but I’ve learned my lesson:
1) Train your dog early — and often — to Come When Called, no matter the distractions.
2) Insist your dog be in a crate while riding in the car (or secured with something like LeashBoss.)
3) Cover your dog in prayer.
Don’t let my story become yours!