Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Doggie Dance

My husband used to drive an old Toyota shortbed landcruiser. It was 'A Man’s Truck’. It had no air conditioning, no power steering or automatic transmission, and hardly any brakes. Rob loved that truck. I didn’t mind riding in it, but I hated to drive it. On this particular day, though, I had no choice. I’d signed up our mis-named dog, Harmony, for some training, so she’d quit knocking our kids down every time they went outside. And we could only restrain her in Rob’s truck.

Now, I need you to understand—we homeschooled our kids through high school. They both went to college. They graduated with honors. Our son has a master’s degree. But our dog couldn’t even make it through obedience school. She flunked out the first hour and I went home with scars on my face!

Rob couldn’t go with me to the first lesson because he was teaching a class in Chandler. He left the landcruiser for me to drive, but neither one of us remembered I’d also need the key. So I took the kids to a friend’s house who loaned me her car, then I raced over to where Rob was teaching, got the key, raced back to my friend’s home where I returned her car along with the broken pieces of her sideview mirror . . .sigh. Don’t ask. I loaded the kids in the truck, got the dog chained up inside, and then we all did the braking/lurching/driving thing all the way to Tempe where I left the kids with another friend, and then Harmony and I made it to the park in Mesa with about ten minutes to spare.

I parked, went around to the back of the landcruiser, and lifted up the rear window so I could unchain and release the hound . . . but she jumped out before I could do that. There she was, hanging out the rear window by her neck! She looked like some kind of horrifying Tim Burton Christmas tree ornament.

I finally got her loose, and then Harmony took the lead . . . literally. She drug me all over that park, running circles around my legs and between my feet, tripping me in front of God and everybody. They all knew. We were doggie trash.

All of a sudden I realized that the lead had gone slack in my hands. Because Harmony’s tiny little head—inspired by her tiny little brain—had pulled completely out of the collar, and now, she, Who Knew Not Her Name, was a free agent. Run amuck. Through the whole park.

So there I went, running after her, yelling, waving the collar wildly in the air and hoping she’d just . . . keep going! But somebody caught her. Now I had to put the collar back on her. Once again she and I did the Canine Two-Step all the way back to the starting gate, where the instructor had witnessed the entire floor show.

She walked over to me and said in a surly, patronizing sort of way, “Ya know, if you put the choke collar on her, you’ll have more control.” Right. I hadn’t had control since I brought this dog home from the pound. I gave it to her and asked her to put it in the dog, but she said I’d bought the wrong size and I’d have to “go over there and buy a new one.”

Well, that was impossible. There was no way I could hang on to this lunatic dog with one hand while I wrote a check for a new collar at the same time. I knew when I was licked. I decided to just go home. I would come back next week . . . with Rob.

One more time, we did the Doggie Dance all the way back to the landcruiser where I lifted up the rear window again and reached down to pick up my forty-five pound wonder dog who knew how to jump OUT of a truck but NOT INTO one!! I got her up almost shoulder-high when she wiggled in my arms and bumped the truck, which caused the window to fall—full force—onto the bridge of my nose.

The pain was blinding. I didn’t even know what happened! But I was pretty sure . . . it was the dog’s fault. And I wished with all my heart that she’d hung herself when we arrived. I still held her, but now, she seemed light as a feather, and THIS time I had NO TROUBLE getting her into the back of the landcruiser!

I went around to the front seat where I found a filthy Kleenex inside the man’s truck. Mopping the blood on my face with it, I went back to the registration table to ask for a refund. It didn’t take a lot of convincing for them to give me my money back. I just told them what happened.

“The dog! . . . and . . .the collar . . was too . . and then the WINDOW! . . . on my nose!” They practically threw the money at me—I think I made ten bucks on the deal.

I took Harmony home, and then I drove back to where Rob was still teaching. You see, my husband is a paramedic. My Knight In Shining Armor. And I knew, he would take one look at his battered bride, drop everything he was doing, and rush me to the emergency room where they would prep me for surgery.I went up the stairs and knocked on his door . . . again. He came outside this time, took one look at me and exclaimed, “What happened?!!”

He thought I got beat up in the parking lot. So I explained. . . clearly. . . Laura Petrie style.

“The dog! . . . and the collar . . was . . . too . . and then the WINDOW! . . . on my nose!”

You know. I really think it was just too much information for him. He threw an arm around my shoulders, gave me a quick brotherly hug, and said,

“Well, honey, I don’t think it’s broken. And uh, look, I’ve gotta finish teaching this class. Tell you what, why don’t you, go home and, uh, put a bandaid on it! You’re gonna be fine.”

And . . . he disappeared inside the building.

You know, the last time my husband showed that level of . . . concern . . . I was in labor with our first child, and just as I reached transition, Rob looked at me the way only a young, inexperienced husband can, and said, “I don’t think you have a very high threshold of pain!”

They always say you’ll forget the physical sensations of childbirth. But I’m sorry to report—that may be the only thing women ever forget.

Well, the next morning I had two beautiful black eyes and an attractive butterfly bandage on my nose—which was NOT broken—courtesy of my nurse friend when I picked up the kids. Rob did finish teaching his class that night, but later . . . he realized he may have missed an opportunity when I showed up the second time. After all, I was a real patient with a real injury.

And he was teaching a first aid class . . . on bandaging.

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