A Journey from Phillip, the Forgotten, to Phillip, the Fabulous in 30 Days – Third in a Series
December 19, 2015
And the Beat Goes On
The smells of Christmas wafted into the bedroom awakening me to the memories of yesterday’s full blown baking session. If the scents of pumpkin pie and ham loaf had not lingered, I might have thought the whole affair a nightmare of my health-nut imagination until I remembered the reason for the binge was to celebrate the fostering of a needy dog. Paul was already awake and sitting at the computer surrounded by his four legged fur groupies intent on his every move.
“What cha doing?” I asked scuffling in his direction. “Just getting a message off to Gail to arrange the details for our foster dog. I told her that we will be working a Petco adoption event today and will be visiting your mother for Christmas tomorrow. Basically, I’m saying that we won’t be available until Monday,” he answered putting an arm around my hips. I straddled one of the living bear rugs that separated me from my husband and leaned into him groggily. He smiled up at me as he reached for a kiss. A clump of dog fur stuck to my lips from his closely trimmed beard. “I just pulled dog hair off my lip,” I said backing away. “It must have been stuck to my beard when I gave the guys a hug this morning. Sorry!” Paul said self- consciously. He returned his attention to the illuminated screen while handing me a glass of green juice to start my day.
I sipped the green elixir admiring the fresh vibrant color and slight ginger overtones. “Did you make the batch this morning?” I queried. “Yes, I can’t believe it is nearly Christmas, and we still have fresh chard and kale growing organically in the garden,” he replied incredulously. I savored the gift of the garden and all the health giving benefits of this simple glass of juice. The thoughtfulness that went into the process of making this tonic gratified me as well. Green juice made from chard, kale, celery, cucumbers, apples, lemon, and ginger had been a part of our daily morning ritual since Paul and cancer parted ways years ago.
My eyes focused again on the computer screen. “What does she say about the dog?” I squinted my eyes feeling the need for reading glasses. “She will find a way to get him here on Monday. He was rescued by Wheels on Meals West Helena Dog Rescue. The dog is named Phillip and has spent most of his life chained outdoors. Phillip is supposedly good with other dogs, but he is suffering from a condition called Demodex mange. They think he is around two years old. The dog has seen a local veterinarian and is on the necessary medication. Here’s a photo from the vets office,” stated Paul as he scanned the messages for me. My farsighted eyes looked at the blurry black blob on the screen. “Now you had better get ready. We have a big day ahead of us and we don’t want to be late for adoption day,” he urged.
Paul rose from the computer to put our boxed dog equipment in the car while I dressed thinking what a miracle it would be to find some of the dogs homes for Christmas. I watched as he carried the box of bandana scarfs, leashes, collars, and treats down the stairs. The “Gang” rushed to his aid pushing past on both sides of the stairs as he navigated his footing. A strong slap of a wagging tail nearly caused him and the box to topple. I watched the scene that I’ve witnessed numerous times daily of Paul trying to out maneuver the dogs on the stairs. I shook my head at the absurdity of the situation. “Normal people just don’t live like this!” I muttered as I looked at the fuzz coated Humane Society for Animals tee shirt that I laid out to wear today. “Nope, Normal people just don’t live this way!” I found myself repeating as I brushed away the hair.
Paul opened the door to the garage to place the equipment box in the back seat. I heard Gracie Bird, the African Grey Parrot, give the dogs a command… in Paul’s voice. “Go For Ride, Go For Ride!’’ she squawked. The pack pushed past Paul and out the open door. I heard him calling the dogs to get back into the house. The dogs seemed to have selective hearing this morning as they only had ears for Gracie Bird and the perceived “Go for Ride” opportunity. Jeff Smith, the English Setter, had assumed the shot gun position. Loki, the small Pyrenes mix, and Stan the Man, the Golden Retriever mix, jumped into the back seat as if preforming a choreographed dance. They pressed past each other choosing the window with the best air flow for the adventure. Bone-it-a, the large Pyrenes mix, bypasses the car to insert her head in the partially torn bag of dog chow intently helping herself to the contents. The only canine not caught up in the mayhem was Cindy Lou, the Bassett mix, who at 13 years old was sleeping deservingly in the leather lounge chair…our best and only presentable chair.
“Ellen,” Paul said bounding up the stairs. “I need to make a quick run to Starbucks for an iced coffee. I can’t disappoint the boys. You might want to get Bone-it-a out of the dog food bag. By the way, she probably doesn’t need any breakfast.”
And off they went in the 1996 Honda Civic…all four windows rolled down on this mild December morning with heads hanging out each one. They took off down the street with tufts of loose fluff flying freely in the breeze. My husband had a smile a mile wide slapped across his face as he drove “The Brotherhood” down the street. I found myself smiling as well. “Nope, normal people just don’t live like this!”