My friend and I went running at the crack of dawn today, well actually it would have been the crack of dawn last week, but now it's just plain dark. I of course was wearing my 'please don't hit me with your car' neon yellow top and neon orange running shoes. She was wearing one of those reflective neon yellow safety vests, which I had never seen her wear before. We have been running together for over a year. "Yes", she said, "Captain Safety (meaning her husband) insisted on it". We started running, "Oh, let me tell you about my Captain Safety" I started, "Oh, no", she laughed.
Last week my husband offered to walk the dog in the morning so I could sleep in a little. Yes I agree, he is so sweet! Anyway, most days it is me or the kids that walk this dog. This dog came to us about 3 years ago. He is a rescue, mild mannered and cute, but with some (and I use the word loosely) separation anxiety. There is not enough doggie Valium out there for this dog's anxiety.
If there is someone here with him he is all good, no problems. He does not however want to be left alone. On the days when we both work and all kids are at school we were having a lot of trouble with him behaving badly when we tried to leave the house and after we had gone. Through trial and error we discovered if he has a good walk in the morning, 2 - 4 miles, he is perfectly happy to sleep the day away. Pretty cheap fix, I say.
So this morning my husband was taking him for his long walk. As they strolled along they encountered, joggers, other dog walkers and a guy carrying a fairly good sized box and loading it in his car. Hmmmmmm... This is not a usual activity for people at 430am in our little neighborhood. My husband being a police officer and just suspicious by nature began watching said, 'guy'.
Now I have to say as a police officer he always has a heightened sense of security where his family is concerned. In fact if I had walked the dog that day I would have gotten the rundown before leaving the house. Do you have your phone - yes, keys - yes, flashlight - yes, pepper spray - YES, what route will you be taking.... the list goes on, but I think you can see where I am going with this. Whenever the kids and I are out and about on foot in the evening or early am we get this line of questioning. It's as if we are headed out for overnight field exercises rather than a casual stroll to get our persnickety dog to do his business.
My generous dog walking husband arrives home. The dog races upstairs to greet me, his tail waving as he prances into the bathroom. He is obviously proud of himself, and he's always happy to see me. The rest of the family well that can be a crap shoot - anyway, I'm chatting with the dog about his walk, he is wagging enthusiastically, and I hear my husband dialing the phone. High alert, Mrs. Kravitz mode. He describes a guy, gives addresses etc, then I hear him coming upstairs. "So you decided to start work a little early today"?
I guess suspicious 20 something guys aren't concerned with middle aged guys walking with poodle mix dogs at 430am. Middle aged cops watching suspicious people in their neighborhood while walking poodle-y dogs notice everything. Keeping his eye on 'the guy', he continued on his mission with the dog and started to notice the cars parked along the street had open doors and/or trunks, broken windows etc. Uh-oh. Cue Cop Voice, "Hey, what are you doing"? 'Guy' slams his car door and speeds off.
- "Why'd you wait to call?", I said.
"Well... -sheepish pause -, I didn't take my phone with me".
-What?! (mocking incredulity)
"...and I didn't think I should confront the guy armed with a bag of dog poop and a poodle so..."
- Uh-huh...Sooooo you didn't take the flashlight or pepper spray either?
Acting like this whole exchange had not happened he said, "A cop may stop by." "Well did you give them your cell phone number?" "No, just the home." Oh Good Grief! Since he left before me and I was leaving before the kids I put one of his business cards near the door and told the kids the whole story. When I got to the part about him calling out - What are you doing? - they all said, "Did he arrest him?" I had to break the news that no he hadn't because he didn't bring anything but the dog and a plastic bag on his walk. Almost at once the 3 said, "The leash." They refrained from adding "Duh."
All I could say was, "Really?!", but I did have to tell my husband, even though we have 2 teens and a tween and the battles for independence are raging at our house, his kids have every confidence, that armed with nothing but a bag of poop, a leash and a rescue doge with an anxiety disorder, their Dad is fully capable of apprehending and arresting a neighborhood car prowler. That's got to make him feel good.