Yesterday while I was at work, Darwin took Millie out for a walk on her new 16-foot retractable leash. She was sniffing around the fig tree (on the side of the yard she prefers for doing her business), and Darwin held the plastic leash handle loosely in his hand.
Suddenly, Millie caught a whiff of something interesting and took off, jerking the leash right out of Darwin's hand. The leash immediately retracted, and the plastic handle bounced on the ground behind Millie. She freaked out and started running around the fig tree in circles, with the leash handle in hot pursuit.
Our girl is a speedy little devil, especially when being chased by a bouncing pink plastic object, which is why I've been terrified she'll get loose. Once she starts running, there's no catching her.
But in this case, she was too afraid to take off for the treeline, the highway or the neighbors' dog. Darwin watched her careen around the fig tree and realized there was only one way to stop her. He bent his knees, stretched out his hands, waited till she rounded the tree one last time, and ... dove!
His knee struck a tree root, and pain shot down his leg. But still his outstretched hands reached for the pink handle, grasped and caught!
Millie kept running and then stopped short at the end of the leash, on the other side of the fig tree.
"Millie," Darwin gasped, clutching at his knee. "Millie!"
She perked her ears, wagged her tail and trotted over. She licked his face. She was totally unphased.
Darwin didn't tell me this story until I got home last night. He knew it would frighten me less in person. With her there wriggling in my arms, I could laugh with him and call him Wounded Knee.
I choose not to think about what could have been. I love this girl so much already.