In her customary and ever-flashy show of self reliance, Mabel escaped again on Saturday. Right as we were preparing to leave the house, I back-tracked through the open door to have my mom cut a string off of my shirt. I barely noticed Mabel as she sauntered past me and out the door. My eye barely caught the movement of her slinking away near my dad’s front tire in the garage. I caught a clue, panicked and hollered her name. That was all she needed. The sound of anyone giving a damn is, to her, the equivalent of a gunshot at the beginning of a race. She was good as gone.I have pursued Mabel up and down streets before. Back in the day at the old house, Mabel made several dashes out our door, and the neighbors were no strangers to us yelling her name, running after her like maniacs, and shaking “the treat jar” at her in vain hopes that she would return immediately to her own home, docile and content. But I did not care too much what our former neighbors thought of us. They were known to rev motorcycles at late hours and host teen parties in the street past my own babies’ bedtime. If they witnessed me lugging my sixty-pound dog back home while cursing her name at the top of my lungs, it was par for the course. I had no impressing to do there.
But here…here is a different story. Here my parents make no noise, and they appreciate the same from their neighbors. This is the home in which I grew up. The home at which I did not have to yell my dogs’ names up and down the street, and if I had chosen to do so, would have certainly been corrected by my father. No, no, no…see, yelling and causing a disturbance….well, we just don’t do that in Bossier.
And so on Saturday when Mabel proceeded to run like a wild mare down the street and through the manicured front yards, I took off after her – but at a less concerned and more careful pace, as I was wearing slides with three-inch wedge heels. We had just enough time to get to a birthday party that Vic was to attend and Mabel’s antics were not on my morning agenda. But because her escapes are always cause for concern, we brought plenty of ruckus to my mom’s peaceful Saturday morning neighborhood. As Mabel treed a squirrel and sniffed fence-lines, Vic, Aaron, Mom and I trailed after her, calling her name at what I knew was too high a volume for this quaint neighborhood. I feared the neighbors would wonder to themselves from their breakfast tables what kind of hooligans those Starnes people had raised and turned loose on this world. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.
And then it almost did. I traipsed over a curb, which was lined by a 4-inch strip of grass before joining the sidewalk. Except that the strip of grass was not secured to any dirt below it. My fancy shoe went into the hole, twisted, and brought me to my knees for a few minutes. I think I muttered something about hating Mabel right then.
Every good run must come to an end, and fortunately this one ended safely. Mabel heard the call of nature and decided to relieve herself in a neighbor’s front yard – right as he was stepping out of his front door. I frantically sputtered my embarassed apologies and promised to remove her deposit. He dismissed my horror and said he was just coming out to help us catch her, which Vic had already done in the five seconds that Mabel was still. I should have been grateful that Mabel was secure, but I was too embarassed over the fact that this man heard us from inside his home. And that Mabel had soiled his St. Augustine.
I threw a choke leash onto Mabel with no apologies for any discomfort she might experience. Together, we walked verrrrrrrry slowly toward home, with her gagging as if she was breathing her last breath, and me stumbling and trying not to fall on my face a second time. We looked as disturbing as we had sounded earlier. When we got to Mom’s, I threw Mabel’s sorry tail into the backyard, scolding her all too late for her choices and lack of obedience. It is astounding that she got an “A” in puppy obedience. Even more astounding that she can still be a complete angel when we make her wear the training collar.
Mabel turned four today, which would have normally earned her a post of cheery Happy Bday wishes, but I was still holding a bit of a grudge for Saturday’s escapade. She is still a sweetie who offers kisses and saves us from lizards and locusts at her own whim. And even though she makes me crazy, I love her.
Happy Birthday, Mabel. Please try to stay in your own yard from now on. 😉