The Journey of Phillip. The Forgotten, to Phillip, the Fabulous, in 30 Days
Sixth in a Series
December 22, 2015
Red and Yellow, Black and White, They are Precious in His Sight…
Phillip spent most of the morning outdoors with his new pack acting like a kid in a candy shop. The pure joy of being free of a chain to move where he wished was overwhelming at times. He didn’t know what to do next. First he noticed Bone-it-a, the big Pyrenes, patrolling the fence for a bit. He joined her in her breed specific guard duties until “the brothers” took after a squirrel that had fattened itself with second helpings of the birdfeeder buffet. Joining the boys in the chase, they came very close to catching the squirrel until a convenient tree foiled their attempted capture. Phillip watched as Jeff Smith jumped around the tree and barked his warning to the escapee. Loki, the small Pyrenes, retraced the path the squirrel had taken with his nose to the ground, hoping that the squirrel had left clues to the whereabouts of his friends. Stanley, with a dirt encrusted nose, had already tired of the game and was digging up a tunnel once used by a mole in the yard. With a plethora of playmates, there were so many options!
Then there was Cindy Lou snoozing in the sunshine of this unseasonably warm December day. There was something about the low slung swagger and the loose sagging skin of the female Bassett hound that intrigued Phillip. He thought he had found the girl of his dreams! Giving her a playful nip on the jowl to invite a more animated play, she struck a mournful back-woods yodel as she made her way back to the house. Wanting nothing to do with this youngster, she waddled indoors to find her favorite chair to continue her life of leisure. Phillip followed closely behind her as this was becoming a full blown case of puppy love.
I called out to Phillip from the kitchen to distract him from Cindy Lou’s cruel indifference. A bowl of potato soup awaited my vegetarian pallet for an early lunch before leaving to host an adoption event hopefully finding families for some homeless dogs. Paul arrived back home from his weekly visit to the chiropractor and would stay here with the gang this afternoon.
Paul was a regular at the chiropractor’s office and had a standing appointment. It was just a given that he would hurt himself somehow during the week that would require an alignment. Last week’s injury was the result of being pulled on a walk to the dog park by Buddha, a huge black Pit/ Mastiff, that could not control his excitement at being chosen for a play date. “He just wanted out,” Paul said justifying the tweaked shoulder.” I’d have done the same thing in his place.”
“Paul, I want you to look at Phillip’s feet and nose. They seem pretty red and irritated,” I pointed out giving Phillip the remainder of the potato soup in my bowl. Phillip carried the bowl with its contents out into the yard and began to bury it. “I don’t think he is a vegetarian,” Paul commented. “Do you think he is having a reaction to the medication? What if he is allergic to it?” I continued as I made a mental image of the location of the now buried bowl so I could retrieve it later. “I don’t think that it is a bad idea to have the local vet look him over anyway while he is in our care. We need to keep Doc in the loop. I’ll get Phillip in to see him this afternoon. You better go to the adoption event,” Paul said soothing my concerns.
Hours later, I had barely set foot in the house from the adoption event when the doorbell rang. Hurriedly, I sat the box of adoption equipment on the floor next to the door. A little girl had charitably given us a box of Milk Bone dog biscuits purchased from her allowance money to share with the homeless dogs at Christmas. I placed the gift on top of the equipment box to take to the next adoption event.
“Trick or Treat,” Gracie Bird said in response to the doorbell. “Wrong holiday, Gracie! It’s Christmas, now! Merry Christmas, Ho, Ho, Ho!” I chuckled correcting her as I rushed to the door to allow our much beloved visitor Weasley, the yellow lab, to enter.
Twelve-year-old Weasley is my son-in-law’s dog who was always welcomed and a well behaved guest when “The Poole” family left town. He was as much a part of our pack as any of our dogs and raced past me to join the other canines. “Stan the Man” had already opened the kitchen door for the procession to head into the back yard to take up where their last adventure had left off. “Merry Christmas! Ho, Ho, Ho!” Gracie Bird added to the hoopla. The door, of course, was still open, since “Stan the Man” never closes a door once he opens it.
Moving to address the opened door, I noticed the sound of “happy tail” slapping the sides of the crate. Phillip was glad to see me home. Paul noticed the concerned look on my face as I remembered the redness and the vet visit. “There is nothing very serious going on with Phillip,” he began to fill in the details. “He has a sunburn. We need to limit his outdoor exposure until he has finished the medication and has some hair growth.” “Sunburn!” I said to myself. “I can handle sunburn!” I bent down intending to let him out for the “meet and greet “with a good natured yellow lab.
I had hardly touched the crate when the doorbell rang again. “Merry Christmas, Ho, Ho, Ho!” Gracie Bird repeated on cue. Surprised, I looked toward Paul who returned my glance with a sheepish expression. “Ellen,” he cleared his throat, “I forgot to tell you…But, while I was at the chiropractor today…Umm…Well…” “Well, what?” I popped in demanding to know now. “We will be watching the physical therapist’s dog this week while they go away to visit family,” he finally managed to announce.
Before I said another word, I remembered the physical therapist’s extra attention to Paul’s constant aches. There was the ointment that she made especially for Paul using her own essential oils and never asking for compensation. That random act of kindness meant so much to us both. When we needed someone to assist with some heavy lifting, her husband showed up ready and willing to help. To top it off, they had adopted their dog from a shelter saving its life.
“Hello there!” I said flinging the door open wide. “Who do we have here?” As they introduced “Thor” a black springer spaniel mix, and handed over his food bowl, favorite toy, and mat with such emotion, I felt they were entrusting us with one of their most valuable belongings…the dog. I could see the tears welling up in the physical therapist’s eyes. “You just don’t know what this means to us. We have not been to see our families for years, and we couldn’t fly with Thor. He is so very special to us that we couldn’t just board him. When Paul volunteered, I knew Thor would love it here.”
At that very moment, “Stan the Man” led the extended pack of family and friends into the den to meet the newest temporary resident as he once again managed to open a door. All Paul’s plans of an extensive “meet and greet” session to introduce Thor were gone with the brisk wind that blew in behind the clicking sound of numerous feet. An animated Cindy Lou jumped into the lap of Thor’s mom who was sitting in Cindy Lou’s favorite chair, my one and only presentable chair, licking the visitor’s face.
“Merry Christmas! Ho, Ho, Ho! “Gracie Bird squawked. It was a Merry Christmas, indeed!