Mmmm! I grunted as I felt around for the snooze button while moaning about morning coming so early in the day; seven thirty wouldn’t be so bad if it came at noon! Scruffy, my usually lovable but presently annoying terrier was shoving his nose into my neck, ear, and face, letting me know he could count; I’d already snoozed twice now and he had needs to meet, well, needs I needed to help him meet by opening the back door. I swatted the pillow next to me, empty. Drat it, what’s the point of having a husband if he can’t let the dog out! Burying my head under my wonderfully thick memory foam pillow I fumbled for my phone.
Hitting the speed dial number closest to my heart I struggled to stay awake long enough to converse with the callee.
A voice as similar to mine as genetics would allow answered on the third ring with a equally groggy, “Hello.
“Come let Scruffy out,” I pleaded.
“Where are you?”
“So am I.” My daughter Cindy informed me.
“You should be up now, you have a game to get ready for,” I mumbled as Scruffy leaped off the bed and disappeared on the floor somewhere out of sight.
“Not till you make my breakfast,” Cindy declared.
Scruffy leaped back up next to me and rubbed his belly over my arm; his wet belly, his wet lower belly. I hope you’re getting the disgusting picture!
“Ooooh. I think Scruffy has wet the floor somewhere and used my arm for toilet paper!” I announced, springing from bed with the agility of a young person. Scruffy dived off the other side and flew from the room. He had scored and made his point, now it was time to retreat. I found the spot almost instantly with my bare feet. Yuck, yuck; and triple yuck!
“That’s okay, you don’t need to make my breakfast now,” Cindy giggled as we met in the hallway, each with our cell phones glued to our ears. Cell phones, what a convenience. You don’t have to yell from room to room anymore like we did in the antediluvian times when I was growing up.
Scruffy had made it to t he kitchen when I caught up with him, his back to the door, his ears pinned to his skull, trapped. Scruffy’s unconquerable self defense tactic was his eyes. He looked up at me with pools of brown ammunition under thick black lashes which stopped me in my tracts long enough for the door to suddenly open so he could bound into the safety of the back yard, his sanctuary. Now how did that door open by itself? Hubby must not have shut it securely when he left for his golf game this morning. Still, what made it open? Oh, this old house probably shifted slightly. No other explanation.
After the usual delays Cindy and I finally got our stuff together and made it in time to her teams meeting place. On time for us, not on time for those with a sense of personal accountability! We got the customary comments about our consistency which I was able to dodge by just dropping Cindy off and throwing her under the bus. Hey, I’m not that devoted a mother, my priorities were getting Cindy an education, sports were a luxury she pursued.
Cindy rolled her eyes at me at the same time she rolled her sleeves up to go into battle with her disgruntled friends. She would blame me for our tardiness I’m sure, but hey, once again, I don’t care, this is after all Saturday morning, they’re lucky we even showed up!
Back on the road home I ran into an unexpected detour sign that wasn’t there before. Things can sure change in the blink of an eye around here, I thought as I followed the signs. Well, things are looking up, there is a garage sale going on up ahead. Is it possible they’re responsible for the detour sign? What a suspicious nature I possess!
After surveying the trash,,er,,, offerings on the various make shift tables I sighed with relief that there was no excuse to pull out my wallet. I really didn’t need any more artifacts in my house, after all I just finished spring cleaning and made hefty donations to the local Good Will outlet and was pretty proud of myself for the effort.
It was a miracle that I headed back to my car without any purchases since I have zero control over pointless spending. I dug around in my bottomless purse looking for my car keys as a lady passed me carrying an empty pet carrier.
Darn, no telling which table I deposited my keys on, I muttered to myself retracing my footsteps. As I rummaged about in search of my errant key ring I overheard the seller and newcomer discussing the purpose of the carrier. Apparently the woman, mom, had just retired and planned on doing extensive traveling, but without her three year old pet that would now become a bigger inconvenience than it had been up to now. Therefore, younger woman, daughter, had come to collect “Charley” and take him to the …….pound! I couldn’t believe my ears. How could someone just send a pet to certain death, a pet that had loved her unconditionally for three years?
I watched as Charley was coaxed out from under a car parked in the garage. Out came a matted, burr studded, quivering body that seemed to sense its destiny and was willing to go peacefully, and limply.
I decided it was time to intrude, er to offer money, butt in, on this conversation and politely (faked of course) ask if the dog was for sale. The two women suddenly perked up, they had not suspected that someone would be foolish enough for this beast. Unexpectedly they saw Charley as a profit to be made, a piece of property like everything else laid out on the tables to haggle over and suggested a price, a price I wasn’t going to bicker about and jeopardize Charlie’s chance for survival. I did however request the carrier be thrown into the arrangement. I’m sure the women now regretted not having asked for a heftier sum.
Reaching into my purse for my checkbook I was surprised to locate my keys on the surface of all my contents. In plain view! Amazing! I quickly filled out the purchase price, tore the page out and snatched Charlie into my arms only to be overpowered with a smell I wouldn’t compare to anything pleasant. Poor, Charley, he had most likely never been exposed to shampoo. Well, that would change soon.
The detour signs I had been following were gone now. Uncanny. I never saw any truck picking them up. I used my cell phone to call my groomer, I mean Scruffy’s groomer, about Charley, hoping to get him in on an emergency basis but found out I needed proof of his current shots, especially his rabies shot so I got a hold of my vet who miraculously had an opening right now due to a cancellation! This morning was going to cost considerably.
Poor Charley, he had apparently never seen the inside of a Vet's office, or received any of the usual shots and vaccinations. How could anyone treat a helpless animal like this. On top of it all he had some intestinal difficulties and was severely malnourished. Oh, this was going to be a job, not a rescue. After mortgaging my house for payment of services rendered I brought Charley home as is, the grooming would have to wait till Monday.
Scruffy came charging up to the front door all eager for his loving and skidded to a dramatic halt in front of .....he didn't know what he was looking at! Sniffing only hinted at, strongly, of car fumes, gas and other garage aromas. Scruffy tentatively paced around the practically motionless mass of quivering ...what? This certainly wasn't human, or animal.
I gently scooted Charley outside, into the yard where Scruffy tried to introduce him to all the fun things in his sand box. Charley started showing signs of interest, doing his own sniffing and exploring. He had never been outside on grass before, had never seen flowers, birds, or a turtle like the one that was crawling along the fence’s perimeter. Charley was coming to some form of live as the sun showered him with energy and Scruffy supplemented whatever else was missing from Charley's life: companionship of a similar species.
When Cindy returned home latter, all sweaty and exuberant from a winning day of softball, she informed me, "Hey, Scruffy has got someone’s old stuffed animal in the backyard!”
“That’s not a stuffed animal, that’s a sleep over.” I informed her, detailing my day; my long, sad, expensive day, ending with plans for grooming on Monday that would add more charges to my credit card bill.
“Well, bye,” Cindy said, gathering sleeping gear together, “I’m going to Alison’s, I don’t want to be anywhere near the scene of the crime when dad gets home and hears about this. I have no intentions of testifying against you, or defending dad in a court of law.”
Smart girl. She remembered well the last time we rescued a dog, a dog two state lines away, in the middle of the night. It took weeks before we found a replacement home and hubby wasn’t the least bit supportive, he barely tolerates Scruffy.
This is Saturday evening and with any luck and if I’m real careful, hubby won’t even notice our new foster pet till after I get him groomed on Monday and then maybe he’ll be so cute and adorable that hubby’s heart will melt into pools of unrequited love. (Please don’t take my fantasies away from me; they’re the only things that keep me delusionally sane!)
Monday afternoon came finally; after a weekend of subterfuge, I set Charley down on the living room floor with pride. He was a brand spanking new creation. Scruffy came flying into the room and did his skidding to a stop routine again. Was this a different playmate? The dog in front of him didn’t smell the same, look the same or even….Scruffy turned head on heels and disappeared into the kitchen to return with a doggy biscuit that he sheepishly placed in front of Charley. Scooching the treat forward with his nose Scruffy sat back on his haunches to wait for the gift to be accepted. What brought that tender gesture?
As I was puzzling over Scruffy’s bizarre behavior Cindy came in with Alison and her mother. Cindy, ever the cautious type, (yea, since when?) wanted to see if the situation was safe to come home before she sent Alison’s mother off with the get a way car.
“Oh, what a precious darling!” Mrs. Gatlin exclaimed falling on her knees to cuddle Charley and ruffle his furry head and neck. Charley returned the affection whole heartedly.
Bong! The trap was set! “It sure is a shame I have to find another home for him, I just think he’s the best little dog ever besides Scruffy,” I stated, as casually as I could, hoping my fast beating heart wouldn’t give away my strategy.
“What? If you’re not keeping her, Can I have her?” Mrs. Gatlin begged.
“Well…..Are you sure you will take good care of him?”
“Him? If I remember my anatomy classes this is a girl dog.” Mrs Gatlin said, picking up Charlie’s tail. Sure enough, some body parts were missing. Well I’ll be. No wonder Scruffy was enticing Charley with goodies, he didn’t know either till she had received the once over at the groomers. Talk about a well kept secret? Heard of Victoria's Secret, this was Charley's Secret!
Of course there was no question I’d let Mrs. Gatlin have Charley, a good home was all I wanted for him/her, not to mention dodging the bullet from my hubby’s uncontrollable rage, (Whatever!) Hubby had actually just come home from work and passed Mrs. Gatlin and Alison leaving with their dog. He never, ever knew we’d had a house guest and this is one of those secrets that is good for a healthy marriage!
“I’m glad you found a home for that creature,” Hubby said.
“The vet called to ask about him yesterday after church, I didn’t want to spoil your fun.”
He explained, “As long as you kept it out of my way I was happy.” Talk about air hissing out of a balloon, there went mine.
Scruffy sat staring forlornly out the window at his retreating love being abducted by Alison, doggy biscuit still clinched firmly in her teeth, while three mists gathered around, enveloped, and consoled him; what's more he understood them as they spoke.
“Now Scruffy," one of the bigger mists started, "Just like it was no coincidence that Cindy and her mom were running late on Saturday, that there were detour signs mysteriously put up and removed that changed her course, that Cindy's mom misplaced her keys in time to meet the garage sale lady's daughter, that the vet had an unexpected cancellation, it's no coincidence that Alison and her mom adopted Charley. I know for a fact that Alison will be bringing Charley over a lot when she visits Cindy and you two will become close friends. Maybe even....parents!"
Now Scruffy perked up, yep, he definitely perked up as the two larger mists formed into Cindy's and her mom's guardian angels, and the littlest mist became a ...a smaller guardian angel; a smaller dog shaped guardian angel. A smaller dog shaped guardian angel that had been assigned to Charley and now considered his mission complete! A sign God cares for all his creation!