What’s your biggest fear?

People overuse the term “biggest fear,” but mine is having something terrible happen to the dogs. Specifically, I worry about them escaping the yard and getting hit by a car. I saw that happen once in Olympia, or rather, I heard it, a dog running out a front door onto the busy street in front of the newspaper where I worked. I remember the owner’s scream as the dog ran out, and her scream after the dog got hit.

While home sick, I let the dogs into the backyard while I watched Tattoo Nightmares. After the dogs had been out there a while, suspiciously quiet, I expected to find them sitting right by the back door, but they weren’t there. I called out “Doggies!” into the empty backyard. Nothing.

Oh, god. Is this the day they get out and something terrible happens? Is this going to be another saddest day that ruins our lives?

I put on my boots and a jacket and started up the hill toward the chain-link fence that separates our yard from Interstate 5. Leo’s red skull-and-crossbones bandanna peeked out from behind our martial arts studio building. Phew. At least Leo was safe. I worry less about Mia getting out, because I don’t think she’d go anywhere. I imagine her being like my mom’s Lhasa apso, Barney, who would sit on the front porch and wait to be remembered if you accidentally left him out there.

leo

Leo zoomed around me and the gazebo a few times, kind of like Mia does when Leo is getting into trouble, except Mia usually barks too.

Where was Mia?

There isn’t much space between the studio building and the chain link, and most of that space is pierced through with blackberry branches. I held onto the chain link as I crept along the retaining wall on the dirt barely-a-walkway. Mia was back there, at the very corner of the yard, digging under the fence … LITERALLY my biggest fear. She ran toward me when she saw me, but I kept walking to the edge of the yard to see how much progress she’d made.

Not much, as it turned out, but enough to reinforce my fear that given enough time, she could escape under that fence and onto the freeway.

Mia, why? Why would you try to escape? You, whom I trusted!

leomia

And Leo’s just going to stand there and watch. What a bad influence Mia is on him.

How about you? Any of your biggest fears ever come true?

Stay tuned for Big Fear, Part 2: Spiders!!

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