Thursday, May 15, 2008

In One Second, Flat

Yesterday morning as I drove my son to school, I saw a woman and a dog out for a walk. We live near a lake and a large apartment complex, so we see a fairly constant parade of dogs and their owners, both local and visiting from other neighborhoods, on our street at any time of day.

The woman and her adorable little Maltese-type dog waited at the corner for the light to turn green. My son and I also waited at the light. The woman got the walk sign first and proceeded to cross the street, and I realized her dog wasn't on a leash. Not only that, but the dog was sniffing something on the corner and wasn't paying attention to its owner, who was halfway across the street. The dog suddenly raced to catch up...and went under the car of a driver turning right on the red light.

I screamed and covered my mouth, and my son, who hadn't seen it, kept asking me what was wrong.

But an amazing thing happened. The dog went between the front tires of the car and managed to dodge the back tires as well, then ran across the street to its owner. All of the other drivers had stopped in shock. I think a couple honked their horns.

And was the woman concerned? No. She was just annoyed that people were honking their horns and staring at her. I'm still astonished that she would walk her dog without a leash in a high-traffic neighborhood. The driver who almost hit the dog wasn't in the wrong; she just couldn't see the tiny dog scamper off the curb. The dog owner was dreadfully irresponsible and thoughtless, and the driver was shaken. (She had to stop and pull herself together.)

I dropped my son off at school, then drove around the block to see if I could find the woman. I was still pretty full of adrenaline and had a couple of things I wanted to say to her. Lucky for her, I didn't find her. But if I see her again with her dog unleashed, I may pull over for a chat -- a more civilized one than the one we might have had if I'd found her yesterday.