I saw Chief’s ears perk up and felt her body tense at the end of the leash. The morning was cool, gray and rainy. Neither of us was particularly happy about being out in the elements, but this faithful pup had decided that she belonged wherever I happened to be. Right now, something, whether real or imagined I will never know, had caught her eye and reflexively I tightened my grip on the leash, wrapping it around my palm for good measure. I was prepared for the upcoming outburst; this goofy dog was incredibly predictable. She would first prance on her hind legs, barking hysterically – then she would add intermittent whining to the melody – all the while straining at the leash like a horse chomping at the bit eager to gallop. Yes, I was prepared. The collar was not. It broke away from her neck and she never looked back, darting down the sidewalk and out into the busy street, navigating single-mindedly toward the ravine on the other side.
In the early morning light, with windshield wipers flapping and the reflection of headlights on wet asphalt, the driver’s last minute braking efforts were futile. The thud of metal against black fur was deafening; it seemed that for that instant all other sound was ripped from the air. I saw my sweet puppy fly through the air, tossed like a leaf in the wind. My heart screaming as loudly as my voice, I raced after her, clambering down into the gully where she had landed. Screams shifted to a quiet murmur as I lifted her head, pulling us both from the icy water that had pooled there. The fates would not take her from me today. I would not allow it.