“Alright Sammy, let’s go for a run!” I jingled the leash around next to the door until I heard the thudding footfalls of my golden retriever tearing through the house. He slid to a stop at my feet, panting up at me. “Good boy.” I scratched his ears as I hooked the leash to his caller.
I braced myself for the cool breeze as I swung the door open. Sammy pulled gently on the leash and we went out into the yard. I allowed him to sniff around as I tried to warm up my muscles. The first workout after Thanksgiving break was going to be killer and I didn’t know if I was really ready for it. Sammy was more than ready though, he’d made his way to the sidewalk and was leaning his weight into the leash.
“Okay, okay,” I joined him on the pavement. “Let’s go!” I started at a light jog and he trotted a little ahead of me, eager to pick up speed. I gave in and kept pace with him as we rounded the block. It was a peaceful morning, few people were out at this hour. I took a deep breath of the fresh air as Sammy tugged again to go faster.
We ran past the man setting up his newsstand and waved hello. A bell rang against the door of a coffee shop across the street and I inhaled the sweet aroma that wafted over on the wind. We were almost to the dog park where I could let Sammy do his own thing while I worked on my core.
Then a car drove by and Sammy barked at it. He pulled hard on the leash as though he wanted to chase. I tugged back and dug my heels into the ground, trying to keep my balance more than anything. I’d thought I’d broken him of this habit. He whined, growled, and barked again, still straining against me.
But he was stronger than me and got himself moving after the car. I had no choice but to follow. He went faster and faster with every step and I tried my best to keep up. Sammy knocked into a trash can and it fell into my path. I leaped over it, managing to land on my feet. A table full of fruit came crashing down and I slid across a tomato, keeping a tight hold on the leash.
“Sorry!” I yelled over my shoulder at the man that came running out of the shop to take in the destruction. “Sammy! Stop!” My legs were burning with the effort it was taking to keep up with him. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to for much longer.
The car took a sharp left turn and I fought the urge to close my eyes as Sammy swung around to follow. I tripped and skidded around, attached to the leash by my wrist, and saw the ground coming towards my face. Now Sammy was dragging me, my arms scraping the concrete and my clothes ripping. I screamed and fought to free myself. I felt the leash go over my knuckles and I slowed to a stop near a mailbox.
Pushing back tears of anger, embarrassment, and overall pain, I stared after Sammy as he continued to follow the car. But then I looked at the car and noticed something a little odd. One of the taillights had been broken out and…and there was a hand waving around out of it!
“Oh my god,” I gasped, grabbing for my cell phone from my sports band. I dialed 9-1-1 with a shaking hand and waited.
“9-1-1, please state your emergency.”
“Uh, yes, I was out running with my dog on the uh, corner of…” I spun around to find the street sign, “James and Oak Grove and I just saw a car with an arm waving out of the tail light. My dog started chasing it.”
“Do you have a make, model or license plate on the car?”
I stared at the car, it had slowed down for the speed bumps. “It’s a blue Honda Civic. I see an R and 23 but I can’t make out all of it.”
“Which direction are the heading?”
“West, on James.”
“Thank you, ma’am, units are on their way.”