Today, I took my doggie Einstein on an off-leash trail we've taken dozens of times.
Every time, it's the same: Einstein often lags 10 to 30 yards behind--smelling, peeing, pooping, saying hello to other doggies--then racing to catch up with me. Or if a half-minute passes without my seeing him, I turn around to make sure he's close by or I call him, in which case he always immediately races to catch up to me.
Until today. Thirty seconds had transpired so I turned around to see if Einstein was close enough: No Einstein. "Einstein" No Einstein. "Einstein!" No Einstein. "Einstein, wanna treat!" No Einstein.
I retrace my steps and call his name, probably 100 times by the time I return to the car. No Einstein. I alternate between being panicked and trying to make peace with the fact I'd never see Einstein again.
Long story short, two hours later, I get a call from a professional dog walker, Leah, who, on a side trail, had used a dog whistle to call one of her dogs. Einstein apparently likes dog whistling, so he ran to Leah, apparently out of earshot of my calling him.
Leah immediately tried to call me on her cell phone but she has poor vision and couldn't quite read the phone number on Einstein's tag and so called the wrong number. It was two hours later when she decided to take a closer look at the phone number and realized she had read a "2" as a "3," so now could reach me. Meanwhile, for the two hours, Leah reported that Einstein was happy as could be, never showing a hint of missing me, her devoted caretaker.
1. Alas, even our most comfortable rituals can be disrupted, potentially with serious results.
2. The notion that doggies are loyal, man's best friend, may require revision. Doggies are loyal unless perhaps there's another doggie or nice person around.
3. There's a lot of luck in the world. If Leah had normal vision, she would have reached me instantly, saving me two hours of agony. If she happened to have been a bad person, she could have stolen my Einstein.
But in the end, as I write this, Einstein is sleeping on the doggie bed that's next to my desk, and life is back to normal.
Oh and that's lesson #4:
4. Life back to normal is a pretty good thing, something we shouldn't take for granted.