The closest to Normal (Illinois) that I've ever been.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The case of the dog in the night

Argos has had an incident. Now, anyone who remembers our old dog Ivy may recall that she was prone to causing mayhem and being generally disobedient, despite being considered a canine good citizen by the AKC and having excelled in competitive obedience classes. Back in the day, I was accustomed to being publicly shamed by my dog. (Good practice for having children?)

Ivy and Sam

But Argos is different. He is a mild and pleasant dog. He is clingy enough that he never wanders (even off leash) and he really doesn't have the creativity to engage in any disobedience and shenanigans. He gets along with every dog that he's ever met, and people are rarely frightened of him because of his oafishly happy demeanor. So, never in a thousand years, would I have predicted the nearly tragic series of events that befell us on Saturday. So don't go and be an ass and tell me that I shouldn't have done what I now know that I clearly shouldn't have done.

Stupid bread.

I was walking Argos at @7:00 Saturday night through uptown Normal. As I have done many times before, I stopped at the bakery counter to get a loaf of bread. I put Argos on a down-stay, and tied his leash to a heavy metal chair. I went inside, and as I was getting my bread, for some unknown reason, something spooked Argos and he got up. He must have noticed that the chair was "following" him and he freaked out. The chair was a heavy iron thing that must have weighed at least 60 lbs, but when Argos started running, it went airborne. Argos ran down the sidewalk yelping and screaming with the chair sparking on the sidewalk behind him. I was chasing him, but in panic mode, he was way too fast for me.

Argos ran across the street to the "NV" nightclub, where he narrowly missed shattering the plate glass window with the chair, and ran back across the street to the bakery (luckily it is a street with only occasional traffic), again nearly hitting the bakery window with the airborne chair. After he passed the bakery, he tried to flee home, which was when I started freaking out: there is no way to get to our house without crossing heavy traffic. I was running after him at top speed, but even trailing the chair, Argos was a half-block ahead of me.

Argos rounded the corner of Linden, and I was sure that if he crossed College, he would be hit by a car: the intersection of Linden and College is extremely busy. Because Cosí restaurant is so close to the street, drivers can't see pedestrians until they are already in the intersection. I kept running after Argos, and bracing myself for the squeal of tires and whatever noise a 111-lb dog and a 60-lb iron chair would make when they hit the front of a car. But when I rounded the corner, he was just sitting at the curb next to the chair as if he were waiting for the light. A woman who I know from the dog park, was standing in the doorway of Cosí next to him. She said that she recognized Argos, and I guess that either Argos stopped at the intersection because the woman at Cosí opened the door which distracted him, or because I always make him stop and sit at that intersection and his conditioning overrode his blind panic. Regardless, when I got to him, he was sitting there sheepishly next to the chair (as if I had tied him up outside of Cosí). (I went back and gave that woman a thank you card drawn by the kids and a Target gift certificate!)

Oh yeah, Malamutes can pull over 1000 lbs.

Everyone in uptown Normal eating dinner in the surrounding restaurants and bars saw this odd spectacle, and Argos was greeted by many people as I backtracked, returned the chair and made sure that no damage had been done. On the way home, I ran into the Animal Control guy, who was literally there within five minutes of this five-minute event. He was clearly amused by the whole thing, so no harm done. Well, almost no harm done--a big beefy guy at NV got a bruise on his leg from the chair. When I got home, I found out that Argos had musked himself in fear, and since I didn't have the energy to bathe him, dog and carpet were sprayed with Febreze.


suze said...

that was a pretty badass story! glad argos is okay! :)

Beth said...

Despite the doggie drama part, I must say your description of Normal certainly sounds quaint. Normal Rockwell :-)