I had plans to start 2016 on the slow side. No sweeping change. A leisurely coffee. A little tidying up. And then I’d get back to the novel I’d been enjoying during this past week of vacation.
But my sweet Elliot had other plans for embracing the new year – ones that followed along the lines of “seize the pit bull day” and “find your adventure.” Gone was the dog of 2015 who patiently stayed in the doorway while I put out the recyclables. He looked like the same innocent, home-loving pooch as he did last week, at least for the 20 seconds before he bolted.
Before I knew it Elliot was on the lam, dashing across the front yard and into our neighbor’s on a mission to make his first morning of the year his most exciting yet. I made my first mistake of the year running after him in my fleece sleep sheep pajamas. It was game on for Elliot – keep away from the parents.
My husband shouted for me to stop chasing him. I shouted maniacally for my beloved pooch who was venturing farther and farther away, making sweeping circles from one backyard to the next and sprinting like a jackrabbit.
I asked my husband to grab treats but Elliot was no fool. He’d snatch one up and continue on the ridiculous game while my head filled with visions of traffic coming down the road. I swapped my chase with a slower trot to keep him in my sights. The one thing that never came to mind was trying out the “totally reliable recall” training, which we shamefully hadn’t practiced in months.
But luckily there’s one thing Elliot still loved more than being a completely free-range pooch. He loves new people and couldn’t resist greeting our concerned neighbor who had come out into her driveway after hearing the commotion. As I shouted, “be careful he’s a jumper” given his tendency to try to get his paws on every person’s shoulders to move in for the kiss, she slowly bent down and said hello.
She was the every bit of calm I wasn’t so Elliot wasn’t the least bit suspecting of being apprehended. While she held his attention, I swiftly scooped up the nearly 60-pound canine rebel and carried him back home while offering a chorus of thanks.
Elliot was apparently tuckered out by the adventure and spent the rest of the day snoozing under a pile of blankets on the couch. And I returned to my novel as initially planned while sneaking glances of the now-angelic bull and soaking in the reminder to be more careful and calm.