It happened in the blink of an eye, the way these things usually do.
We were babysitting Brett and Abby’s puppy, our grandpup, a rascally, endearing, sixty-pound Sheepdog/Poodle named Berkley.
They’re in love with that guy (we are too) and had trouble leaving him for the dog-free overnight they were embarking on.
I finally said, “Okay now, just go, he’s in good hands! He’ll be just fine!”
They reluctantly left, and we had a great day with Berk, even lots of bonding and play time between Craig and the just over one-year-old, even though, prior to this day, he mostly barked at his “grandpa.”
Collin and Jennifer were here, too, along with Marina, who had just returned from work and was showering for dinner. Craig was grilling outside when I told him I’d take Berkley for a walk before we eat.
We went for a quick, trouble-free loop around the block and came back in by the garage. Through the window, I saw Collin and Jennifer in our unfenced, front yard by the lake, playing with our two dogs, so I joined them with Berkley.
Our little one, Jovi, and Berkley started jumping on and circling each other, their tails wagging fast.
I was tethered to Berkley and kept getting yanked by the arm, becoming more aware by the second that his leash was tangling between their eight collective paws.
I knew I shouldn’t, but . . . see where this is going?
I made a rash decision to let go of the leash, to allow the two dogs to wrestle uninhibited and . . . wouldn’t you know?
Just like that, Berkley took off like a shot.
He did a couple intricate football moves to avoid Jennifer, who saw he was bolting and tried to grab him.
He ran straight for the lake, and somehow stopped himself from falling off the seawall into the water; then turned and ran toward the stairs that lead to the pier in the community park that’s adjacent.
At this point, I was chasing Berkley and Collin was following, too, calling the dog’s name.
Berkley took a hard left, and dashed perpendicularly out of the park boundaries and straight into the road.
Collin sped past me and I yelled, “You have to catch him!”
He flipped the slip-on shoes he was wearing into the grass and kicked it into high gear.
Berkley then took a sharp right, and just completely booked it all the way down our street, his leash dragging, with Collin in hot pursuit.
I was useless in my flimsy sandals but jogged behind, and the crazed, galloping beast and barefooted Olympic runner caught the attention of a few neighbors.
One hollered to me, “Did you see how fast they’re going?”
I was out of my mind, hands on my head, considering how I’d possibly explain this to Berkley’s mom and dad . . . how I’d tell my son and daughter-in-law that I’d somehow lost their “baby.”
I responded with something like, “My son’s dog!”
The same neighbor replied back in the most dumbstruck way, “That’s your son?!” He couldn’t believe how fast Collin was sprinting.
His reaction makes me laugh now, but at the time, the distress we were experiencing in the moment was lost on him.
I continued down the road, praying to myself, “God, please help us. Please help us get Berkley back!”
Jennifer was sprinting, also, and I shouted, “Go get the car!” Berkley had now gone so far that he vacated our neighborhood by careening through the little grassy footway that leads to another, and I wasn’t thinking clearly that it would be futile because the way is quite narrow.
She did get the vehicle, though, and about the time she pulled up, I was almost to the slim walkway and could see the top of Collin’s head behind the tall bushes bordering, and I swore I heard him say, “I’ve got him.”
What? Absolutely impossible! There’s no way!
But then . . . just like the jaw-dropping, final clip of an edge-of-your-seat movie, Collin walked out through the path . . . with his hand holding the cord that held Berkley.
He should’ve had a big, red S emblazoned on his chest.
Relief washed over me, and I bent over and cried. Jennifer did, too.
Soon, I got it together, gave Collin a high-five, and tried to calm my breathing while I accompanied that four-footed, exhausted one back home.
Have you ever dropped the leash?
Have you ever dropped the ball?
Have you ever messed up or made a quick determination that led to such unfavorable consequences that you’ve regretted your actions for a very long time?
I have on many different occasions and times, and certainly in much more substantial and major ways in comparison to that day.
That day, I was spared an awful outcome, but it could’ve ended differently.
I’m so grateful it didn’t.
We all have moments in our lives we wish we could take back.
We all have remembrances of things we said or did that we wish we could erase or do-over.
But it’s our mistakes, our cringe-worthy memories, that ultimately develop our character and continue to grow us day by day. We wouldn’t want to get in the way of that growth for our children or for ourselves.
Our lives can go by in the blink of an eye.
All we ever really have is today. And every morning is a fresh calling, to do a little better than we did the day before, and to embrace whatever adventures await.
Grab your hats and shoes, moms and dads, and handle yourselves, your littles and bigs, and those furry ones too, with mounds and mounds of grace.
God only knows how our next scenes will begin and end.
The going’s never easy, but it’s a pursuit and a race worthy of our everything.
1 Corinthians 13 : 4–7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Psalm 46 : 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day.