My dog's great escape

By: Ruth Bird

Even though I try not to go down memory lane too often, every once in a while something happens that triggers my memory, and I am carried backwards in time. Today I took my three dogs for a long walk. I had my Nikki, Benny and Dukie. Nikkie is my 2 year old golden retriever and Benny my 5 year old black lab. Dukie is my 10 year old blind black lab.

They were all pretty hyped up today so walking them was a challenge. And that is what triggered my memory.

Two of my dogs are involved in dog therapy programs; that means I go visiting the seniors with my dogs. This particular day of the great escape I had all three dogs in the jeep because we had been out for a walk in the park. I had decided to make a quick stop and visit one of our senior friends on the way home.

My dogs have been trained never ever to leave the vehicle until I say
”OK”. They have always been very good in obeying this command. But, not today, nope, today they are getting ready to freak me out. As my dogs tend to do every once in a while.

I arrived at HOME ON THE HILLS, that is where Benny and I go visiting. I will leave Nikki and Dukie, the blind one, in the jeep. Today we will only stop by for a short visit.

I reminded my dogs that they must stay and not come out of the jeep. The parking lot is full and since it is a beautiful day, many of the seniors are “hanging” around outside the front door. There are seniors in wheel chairs, with canes, or just standing around.

I opened my jeep, and what happened? I just could not believe it! All of my dogs jumped out. Just like that, they jumped out. Nikki, the leader of the gang is running at full speed towards the front door. Benny is of course running right behind Nikki. And, my Dukie is also running, he just doesn’t know where to run to because he cant see where he is going.

Well, I freaked and screamed and chased my dogs. Of course there is no way I can catch them. I could just picture those poor seniors being knocked over like bowling pins by my fast approaching excited dogs, ready to greet everyone they see. “Wow, look at all the people to jump on.”

I screamed some more, and luckily some nurses were outside and heard me. They helped round up my dogs. I cant believe that no one was hurt or knocked over. Wow, someone was looking out for us.

Meantime, I am shaking. I am also not wearing running shoes. Heck, I didn’t mean to go running today, just walking. I slipped in the parking lot and lay there like an idiot, still screaming for everyone to be careful. Of course I was also terrified that one of my dogs would get run over.

I am a diabetic, so my sugar level went haywire on top of it all. When we finally got all my dogs leashed and put back in the jeep I was exhausted. I did not know whether to cry or laugh, or just pass out. Or maybe do all three of those things.

Anyways, we did survive this ordeal. And it taught me a lesson. Never ever assume my dogs will listen all of the time. I never did go back in to visit that day; I was too shaken with what could have been. Thank God nothing did happened that day.

We all drove home and calmed down. Soon this incident was forgotten. Except for every once in a while when those memory triggers hit, and then my heart beats all over again.

Dog Therapy Visiting has been a passion of mine for 5 years. I first became involved in this work when visiting a friend in the hospital. A beautiful Golden Retriever silently walked into the room and instantly brought comfort. That was Tasha. Tasha and her owner became my mentors.

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My name is Ruth Bird and I have been married for 27 years to my husband, Chris. Chris has been battling the monster, MS for a number of years. Come and contact me here. People and Pet Health are my passions.  Come and visit my Dog Training information site. 

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