“Wait! Come back here!”

Oh, good grief! We haven’t even named him yet and he’s going to get hit by a car!

We’d only been home from the pound with our newly adopted six-year-old terrier mix for a few hours when I hooked his brand-new leash on and headed out the back door. Our home sat on an acre of land, but the side gate was open, and I didn’t want to take any chances. The furry black bundle of energy jogged ahead of me to investigate the lawnmower parked nearby, pulling the retractable string tight as he went.

A bird? A squirrel?

It happened so fast, I don’t think I’ll ever know what spooked him, causing him to jerk the leash right out of my hand. Off he went, tearing across the large backyard, straight towards the open gate. If that wasn’t bad enough, he looked over his shoulder as I frantically called for him to stop and saw the retractable leash bouncing wildly in the night sky after him.

The poor thing! Whatever had spooked him moments before was nothing compared to the terrorizing blue plastic contraption chasing after him now!

His short little legs kicked into overdrive as he tore through the gate and headed straight for the road.

“No!” I yelled as my mind raced with thoughts of how on earth will I tell our son that I’ve killed our dog?

Before I could formulate a plan, our new friend came barreling back through the gate and—thankfully– right toward me. My heart melted at the look of sheer terror I saw on his face. He’d glanced behind him just in time to see that fearsome leash was still hot on his tail. Bending over, I calmed my voice and said, “It’s okay. Come here, Buddy.”

He was coming toward me alright, but there was nothing calm about him as he raced full speed ahead and launched himself in between my feet. I can still picture it, as if in slow motion…

‘Buddy’ sailed through my legs.

The leash did not.

‘Buddy’ finally stopped.

The leash did too.

Because my leg stopped…the leash…and Buddy.

He’d been racing towards me so fast that the bouncing leash was right behind him, sailing straight towards my right leg as well. It wrapped around my ankle, taking me to my knees.

It was precisely at that moment that my husband came out of the little building at the back of the property to see what the noise and commotion was. He held his cell phone in his right hand while he raised his left arm in a gesture as if to say, “What on earth is happening right now?”

What could I say?

How could I explain when I didn’t even understand what had just happened myself?

So instead, I just doubled over in laughter as our new “Buddy” came and calmly sat down beside me as if to say, “I’m cool. I wasn’t really afraid, Mom.”

Of course not, Buddy. Of course not.

          Buddy in 2021. Calm as ever!

Speaking in low, soft tones, I assured him that everything was alright, saying, “It’s OK, bud. You’re safe now.”

Untangling the leash that was embedded around my right ankle, I dusted my hands and legs off as I stood up. Together, my new buddy and I calmly walked over to my husband who took one look at the angry red welts already forming and said, “That’s going to hurt in the morning.”

“Oh, it hurts already,” I said. “But at least it stopped his mad dash around the yard before he could get hurt. He’s safe and alive.”

Years later, I still have a scar that wraps completely around my ankle, but I also have a memory that never fails to bring a chuckle.  And now, I have a devoted, lifelong friend.

Maybe I’m supposed to apply that to my human encounters, too. Maybe if I practice kindness instead of anger, compassion instead of judgment; well, then maybe in the process, I’ll make more new friends and help someone else feel safe and welcome.

And who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll have even more stories to bring a bit of laughter to my heart and a smile to those around me.

What about you, my friend? Do you have a story to share? I’d love to hear it!


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